What is Bias?

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What is Bias?
Bias refers to a tendency or inclination to prefer one thing over another. It is like making a choice un-objectively and without careful consideration of the actual facts. Being biased is synonymous with being partial or being unfair.

Bias may be applied to different situations and different fields. In television programs for example, there is a thing called “media bias”. This refers to a station’s preferences on what news events are featured on TV and which stories are emphasized or excluded. Like in the case of covering of government elections, producers of a particular station may opt to provide more screen time and coverage to a particular candidate. In this case, the particular TV station is said to be biased to one candidate.

In the field of statistics, bias may also be involved in doing research. Some people may have preferences on what research and analysis methods to use or which demographic to work on in terms of data collection. With this biased way of doing the research, results may not be reliable.

Another basic example of bias in people’s daily lives is when somebody tries to find a job. Various companies select applicants for consideration based on their biases and/or preferences. This may be in the form of educational requirements from “ivy league” or reputable schools only. If an applicant comes from a lesser-known school, he/she may not have a chance of getting an initial interview even if he/she graduated on top of his/her class. Many applicants in similar cases are also excluded from consideration simply because they didn’t come from schools that the company preferred.

At some point in anybody’s life, people will have experienced being biased themselves or being the “victims” of bias preferences and decisions. Nobody of course would want to be on the receiving end of any biased or unfair treatment.

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