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Writing Studies 1

A guide for Written Composition courses at Lincoln Christian University

Bias Detector

Everyone has a point of view.  Sometimes point of view is referred to as bias particularly when an individual doesn't agree with the person's point of view.  Bias shows up everywhere as it is extremely difficult to be competely objective in writing or speaking.  So the question to ask is not "Does this piece of writing contain bias?" but "How much and what kind of point of view or bias does this writing contain?"

Utilize the following questions to detect bias in the materials you use. 

1.  What is the author's point of view?  What clues indicate the author's point of view? 

2. What is your point of view on this topic? 

3. Does the author use facts or opinions to support their point of view? 

Note:  Often it is helpful to consider how much fact and opinion are used.  For example, is the information mostly facts with a little opinion or mostly opinion with a few facts. 

4. Does the author present only one-side of the topic? Specifically, does the author selectively include statistics and quotes to present only one side of an argument?  

5. Does the author deliberately create a positive or negative view of the topic?  Examples include over-emphasizing the benefits or negative aspects of a specific aspect.

Being aware of the author's point of view or bias and their use of facts and opinions helps you decide whether to use a resource or how the resource fits with other resources you are using.  When using sources that are very biased, indicate the bias exists.  Make certain to balance your use of a biased source by stating the opposing view or using a source that states the biased view.  In your own writing, particularly persuasive writing, clearly indicate what your bias and opinion is.  

Note:  Previous LCU professor Mr. Mitch Simpson contributed to this section.