1. (noun) A tendency (either known or unknown) to prefer one thing over another that prevents objectivity.

Example: A bias towards male doctors.

2. (verb) The act of showing a bias.

Example: Judging a group negatively because of their ethnicity or not accounting for students with disabilities when designing a test.

3. (verb) To influence in some way.

Example: Framing a question on survey to ensure a desired response.

Audio Pronunciation: (bi·as)

Download Audio Pronunciation: bias.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: biases (biasses)
  • It is important to remember that a bias not always negative or intentional.
  • Bias skews research findings in some way due to the researcher and informant primarily, then the measurement method, and sampling procedure. This leads to questions about the reliability and validity of data.
  • The terms bias and prejudice are often used interchangeably, however prejudice is an extreme type of bias that is typically preconceived, intentional, and negative such as homophobia, racism, or sexism.
  • Researcher have to follow protocol to avoid (verb) biasing (biassing) outcomes.
  •  Types:
  • Bias used in sentence: Our class discussed biases in the court system.

Related Video:

Related Terms: 



Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed.


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

Farlex. (N.d.) Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (


How to Cite the Definition of Bias

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “bias.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 27, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

bias. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “bias.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 27, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“bias.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 27 Jun. 2019. <>.