Fancy b tattoo.jpg Bias has Val look behind the information and ask the question WHY. Why did this person/organization develop this website? Is it to inform or is it to persuade? Val needs to look to see if a website is presenting information with a biased point-of-view to influence the way she thinks about a subject. Val can look at websites that advertise they have the best tattoo designs and they know the real history behind tattoos. But, are they really just trying to sell Val a tattoo? These sites are meant to influence our perception of the product. Remember that everyone has an agenda or reason for providing a website. Val's job is to find out if that reason is to share information or to influence a reader.

Val should also check to see if a site hosts advertisements that might show some degree of partiality towards a particular point. Advertisements are placed on websites that reflect the advertisers' point of view. Val must then ask if hosting ads is limiting a balanced point of view. Sponsorships can create a conflict of interest and indicate a tendency for a website to provide selective information and not all of the facts that you would find on an impartial site. However, a site established to provide only one point of view does not make it worthless to you as a researcher. In fact, it might contain valuable up-to-date information. Be vigilant about the validity of the information provided and make sure you cross check information. All sites have some level of bias. It is Val's job to determine if bias affects the validity of the information.



(Photo credit: Sofie's Art Studio. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license)