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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

Bias Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: bi·as

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /bIE-uhs/
  • British English – /bIE-uhs/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈbaɪəs/
  • British English – /ˈbʌɪəs/

Usage Notes

Related Quotations

  • “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).

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


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.

Works Consulted

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 23, 2024 (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 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“bias.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/bias/>.