• Bias is the presentation of a one-sided or prejudiced view on a topic. It involves favouring one perspective over others, which can affect a reader’s understanding or interpretation of the topic.

  • The writer could exhibit bias consciously or unconsciously in a text. It often reflects the writer’s personal beliefs or opinions, and can cause the text to lack objectivity.

  • Bias might be expressed through the selection and omission of facts, excessive use of emotive language, or the manipulation of information to support a particular viewpoint.

  • Identifying bias in a text allows a deeper analysis of the writer’s intent, their viewpoints and their persuasion methods. This can impact how you interpret or respond to a text.

Techniques Signifying Bias

  • Emotive language can indicate bias. If the writer uses language that incites strong feelings, they might be attempting to sway the reader’s opinion. Words with positive or negative connotations could also indicate bias.

  • Selective use of facts or statistics can also demonstrate bias. If the writer only provides information that supports their viewpoint and omits contradictory facts, they’re likely exhibiting bias.

  • Bias often involves overgeneralisation or stereotyping. These occur when the writer makes broad, unqualified statements about a group or topic based on limited evidence or experience.

  • Loaded questions or statements, which contain implicit assumptions or biases, might also indicate the presence of bias. For example, a question like “Why is this plan disastrous?” assumes the plan is indeed disastrous.

Impact of Bias

  • The presence of bias can significantly influence a reader’s perception of information. If the bias aligns with the reader’s pre-existing view, it may reinforce their beliefs; if not, it may cause them to challenge or question the text.

  • Recognising bias helps you to evaluate the reliability and accuracy of a text. It alerts you to the potential presence of misinformation or manipulation, and encourages critical reading and thinking skills.

  • Bias is not always negative. It can provide insight into the writer’s viewpoint and highlight societal issues or biases. It can also prompt a reader to explore multiple sources or perspectives to gain a more balanced understanding of a topic.