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Bias
According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, bias is "an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment: PREJUDICE." All authors have inclinations of outlook and are to some degree biased, but bias damages the reliability of some works more than others.
 
Signs suggesting bias
  • the work is created by a person or organization that is committed to a viewpoint that may color their views on the subject at hand
  • the work is published by a person or organization that would benefit by promoting a particular point of view
  • the work is actively trying to sell a product or service
  • the work does not document information or cites unscholarly or biased works
The Cautious Researcher Should
  • learn about the author of a work to identify particular interests and commitments that may lead to significant bias
  • independently verify facts and statistics with a reliable source
  • consider whether the biased analysis is the only one that fits the data
  • try to identify general and specific ways in which the bias may have influenced the argument
For example: Consider how the author's point of view affects the argument.

The author claims that Buddhism and Mormonism are cults. How would his religious and academic background influence your opinion of his arguments?
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