If you have a brain, you have bias. So what can you do?


(Stacey McDonald) #1

When we collect data, our biases and social prejudices can be reflected in how we ask questions, of whom we ask them, and how we interpret information. What is counted, how it’s counted and what insights we derive from that data are all influenced by our biases.

And let’s make no mistake about it, if you have a brain, you have bias. So what can we do about it? Recognizing bias isn’t enough. This article provides a great overview, and some strategies.

Here are a few ways you can overcome your biases:

  • Identify situations where you need to slowing down and considering options and points of view would be helpful. In these situations, prioritize what comes out of that deeper thinking over your gut instinct.
  • Seek input from others that may have different points of view. (At all stages of an evaluation!)
  • Prepare “if”, “then” statements.
  • When administering a survey or interview, ask yourself:
    - do any questions lead an individuals to answer a certain way?
    - are categories used inclusive?
    - am i excluding any groups from participating? can i use a random-sampling approach?
  • When interpreting information, ask yourself “What else could be true?”

Any other suggestions for how to address bias?