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Recognizing and Avoiding Bias in Scientific Works


The APA and BPS guidelines indicate that there exists sufficient evidence that justifies the effort in an unbiased style. When certain words are used in research work, they reflect conventions and reinforce stereotypes. Researchers when writing findings regarding an issue should avoid using language in a manner that highlights questionable assumptions and attitudes towards people. Failure to observe these guidelines is not only offensive but also develops bias in both study design and interpretation. Bias in research may occur intentionally or unintentionally.

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In writing scientific publications, it is imperative for the author to communicate scientific findings. It is the responsibility of the researcher to observe some fundamental principles including accuracy and transparency to ensure that the findings are consistent with the reality. Irrespective of the affiliation of the researcher to the subject under investigation, the researcher should ensure that they only report facts as observed (Galston, 1972). Any competent research should ensure that the researcher is concerned about the quality of the study subjected to publication. The researcher should also ensure that the study has been reported, piloted and planned transparently, decently, and devoid of deviating from facts. When this is observed diligently, the research is free of bias (Simundic, 2013). Researchers have an obligation themselves. Conducting a research irresponsibly makes it difficult to achieve the intended goal such as to be known as an honest and reproductive researcher.


Regarding Scenario 2 ‘On Being a Scientist’, the probability of the researcher to conduct a biased research is high. The claim is founded on the fact that the research involves a brother who is patriotic in the eyes of the researcher. By having a strong dislike for the Middle East people and Muslims, in general, the researcher is likely to use biased language in the report while exhibiting the participants negatively. The situation is likely to be influenced by the researcher’s powerful dislike of the participants. Whereas the researcher may hold the negative perception regarding the participants, it is essential for the researcher to ensure that the research is not influenced by emotions given that the subject is a relative. In fact, the situation will play a central role in giving the research external validity (Pannucci & Wilkins, 2011).

Researchers have an obligation to conduct themselves in ways that meet the expectations of the public and serve them. The assertion is founded on the fact that scientific findings influence the society. Despite the subject of research having been the brother and a patriot, the researcher must ensure that the public does not get the wrong picture of what transpired (National Academy Press, 2009). Depending on how the researcher conducts the research, the results can influence the public perception of a certain population such as the case in Scenario 2 tends to suggest regarding Muslims and Middle East people. The researcher, in this case, should approach the research as an independent-minded scientist only seeking the truth without being influenced by issues that surround the death of the brother (Creswell, 2009). It is imperative for the researcher to acknowledge that biased research may cause distorted outcomes and wrong conclusion (Shamoo & Resnik, 2003). The researcher should ensure that the results of the research are not influenced by the stereotypes about the Iraq population, Muslim or the Middle East people.


Recognizing bias is critical when researching. Bias reporting can result in dishonest assumptions and can be theoretically misrepresentative. When biased report is given, the reader is misled into believing untruth. Each researcher must be responsive to the potential bases for research partiality and commit to ensuring that each activity is meant to abate or lessen the divergence from reality.


Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Galston, A. W. (1972). The social responsibility of scientists. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 196: 223-235.

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National Academy Press (2009). On being a scientist: Responsible conduct in research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Pannucci, C., & Wilkins, E. (2011). Identifying and avoiding bias in research. Plast Reconstr Surg, 126(2): 619-625.

Shamoo, A. & Resnik, D. (2003). Responsible conduct of research. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Simundic, A. (2013). Bias in research. Biochemia Medica, 23(1): 12-15.

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