Q: What is bias?
A: Bias is any judgment, argument, or conclusion that is not supported with evidence. Often bias is unintentional, sneaking in by way of human nature. When people feel strongly about a topic, they often think their opinions are facts when in actuality they are not. Sometimes bias is intentional. An author, company, or organization may want to promote or eliminate a certain opinion, product, or ideology so they manipulate the reader through word choice, tone, and omission (more below).
Q: What is the difference between bias and perspective?
A: Bias is an opinion that is not supported with any facts or evidence, whereas perspective is an interpretive framework through which someone is analyzing an issue. Perspectives can be different, but they should be supported by factual evidence.
Q: How can I tell if a source is biased?
A: Bias can be hard to spot. You usually won't be able to detect bias by just looking at the abstract - this is the kind of evaluation you will do as you read through and compare the sources you've collected. Even then, you often need to collect multiple sources on the same issue to determine whether bias is present. There are a few different things you can do to avoid bias:
|PATS: Acronym for Evaluation indicators|
|Purpose||Is the intent to INFORM or PERSUADE?|
|Authority||Scholar? Journalist? Experienced in the topic? Whatever it is, what does it mean in the context of history? Of a country? Of a time period?|
|Timeliness||Depends on your topic whether currency is important|
|Scope||Do you want something that covers the topic broadly, specifically, or in-depth? (e.g., respectively, encyclopedias, news or scholarly articles, and books)|