Definitions of Bias
(noun) A tendency (either known or unknown) to prefer one thing over another that prevents objectivity, that influences understanding or outcomes in some way.
Examples of Bias
- A bias towards respecting male teachers more than female teachers.
- Judging a group negatively because of their ethnicity.
- Not accounting for students with disabilities when designing a test.
- Framing a question on a survey to ensure a desired response.
Types of Bias
- American English – /bIE-uhs/
- British English – /bIE-uhs/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈbaɪəs/
- British English – /ˈbʌɪəs/
- Plural: biases (biasses)
- It is important to remember that a bias is 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.
- Ecological fallacies can be caused by biases due to lack of objectivity.
- The scientific method requires precise operationalization to avoid bias.
- 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.
- Researchers have to follow protocol to avoid (verb) biasing (biassing) outcomes.
- “Although no single method can eliminate uncertainty, the steps embodied in the scientific method maximize the chances for deriving information that is relevant, unbiased, and economical” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:31).
- “[P]ostmodern theorists believe that entirely new ways of examining social life are needed and that it is time to move beyond functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist approaches” (Kendall 2006:37).
- “Postmodernists are deeply distrustful of science and the principle of objectivity, arguing that scientific knowledge is as much a product of socially determined interests and biases of investigators as it is of facts, which themselves are products of social processes. In addition, postmodernists point out that scientific knowledge has failed to solve social problems or prevent war and genocide” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:17).
- Qualitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “bias” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- ecological fallacy
- value neutrality
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
Farlex. (N.d.) TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
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. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Bias
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “bias.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
bias. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “bias.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“bias.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/>.