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How To Reduce Bias in Article / Content Writing

From not researching in an echo chamber to keeping detailed records and notes, here are six answers to, “What’s a strategy writers can use to reduce bias in their writing?”

  • Don’t Research in an Echo Chamber

  • Rely on Quality Research and Data

  • Consider Multiple Sources of Information

  • Remove Emotional Ploys and Stick to the Facts

  • Include Expert Opinions

  • Keep Detailed Records and Notes

Don’t Research in an Echo Chamber

There’s tons of advice about how to reduce author bias such as writing in third person, using gender neutral phrases, being inclusive and so on. Personally, I found what worked best was to, during the research phase, read not only sources that seemed to align with my own beliefs, but actively seek out viewpoints that seemed controversial. While it may be difficult to read sources that seem far-fetched, exposing yourself like this may lead to interesting discoveries that you can then use in your own article.

It's not enough to dismiss something because you believe it's not true. The best approach is to make sure you’re presenting other viewpoints fairly, and then explain why they're wrong. Not knowing what other people believe will only let you write what you personally know. Dismissing something from the start will not educate people; it only serves to divide us further.

Ionut-Alexandru Popa, Editor in Chief and CEO, Binary Fork

Rely on Quality Research and Data

The best way to reduce bias in your writing is to use research, statistics, and peer-reviewed data. It's not enough to just have an opinion—you need back up what you’re claiming with facts. I would tell any content writer that they should always get the facts straight before they begin writing.

If you're writing about a topic, then find out what other people are saying about it, especially the experts in the topic’s field. Read peer-reviewed studies about the topic and see what the data says, then use that data to support your argument. This will ensure that your information is as accurate as possible and will help you avoid being biased in your writing.

Shaun Connell, Founder, Writing Tips Institute

Consider Multiple Sources of Information

To start, you’ll want to perform thorough research and consider multiple sources of information. This ensures your content is well-informed and represents a diverse range of perspectives. Then, take it a step further, and have someone else review your work specifically looking out for potential biases. This provides a fresh perspective that helps uncover unconscious bias that might be present in your writing.

Overall, the key is to be aware and take steps to minimize potential bias. By being objective, thorough, and open to feedback, writers can ensure that their content is both balanced and free of bias.

Shoaib Mughal, Founder & Director, Marketix

Remove Emotional Ploys and Stick to the Facts

News and content have become so slanted over the last decade that it's tough to find unbiased sources. It's one of my biggest frustrations when reading the news these days. As a journalist of 10 years, and as someone who graduated with a degree in print journalism, you’re taught to be unbiased in your reporting. This means removing your emotions and feelings from the story and presenting the facts whether they fit your narrative or not.

Facts often tell the real story, and these need to be presented upfront and at the top of the story instead of burying them in slanted writing. When you start to feel your emotions swelling up in your writing, whether you’re trying to hide facts or exaggerate them, that's when you need to take a break and remove yourself from the content. Come back to it when you remember your journalist's duty to present impartial reporting even if it means your personal beliefs or political party looks bad.

Seth Newman, Director, Sporting Smiles

Include Expert Opinions

To reduce bias in your writing, you should always include expert quotes. This is standard practice for news outlets and magazines, so it makes sense to do it for your own piece. So, I advise content writers to seek experts in the field and ask them for their opinion on the topic. The best place to do this is through HARO—"Help a Reporter Out". You can send out emails to sources asking them if they have any information relevant to your story, and you’ll receive a range of responses within hours.

This can save you time and make your piece more interesting for your readers. Having an expert in your field say that something is true will be far more credible than simply writing that it is so yourself, without any evidence backing up your claim. Ultimately, it’ll make your content neutral and objective, and helps you avoid accusations of bias.

Tiffany Homan, COO, Texas Divorce Laws

Keep Detailed Records and Notes

There's a lot that can be learned on bias mitigation from qualitative researchers—those who work in an academic or commercial setting to understand, interpret and report on descriptive data. Qualitative researchers conduct interviews, observe behaviors and analyze written records to draw conclusions about their subjects. Throughout this process, researchers are taught to keep detailed notes and records.

Keeping notes isn't just best practice, it's vital to minimizing unconscious bias. In the midst of a study, it's easy to fall victim to any number of biases—such as the common attribution, confirmation or affinity varieties. Without detailed notes about your thought processes whilst writing, it can be difficult to identify these later. However, by maintaining an in-depth record of how you approached a topic, it’s much easier to pinpoint subtle flaws in thinking during a review phase and work proactively towards correcting them.

Chris Martin, Chief Marketing Officer, FlexMR

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