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Website Evaluation Tools: Bias & Domains

Margaret Traylor & Phillippa Caldeira

Definition of Bias & Indicators

Definition of Bias & Indicators

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines bias as the following:

An inclination of temperament outlook; especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment. Synonym: prejudice

Why should we check the bias of information on a webpage and/or website?

Bias is when a statement reflects a preference or prejudice for or against a person, object, or idea. It occurs when a writer or speaker utilizes a selection of facts, choice of words, and the quality and tone of description, to convey a particular feeling or attitude. Biased information tries to influence or change how you think.

Knowing how to identify & analyze biased information properly is a skill. You should expect bias on webpages that are designed to sell you something. In addition, webpages dedicated to controversial topics are likely to have a bias.

 Questions to keep in mind as you seek indicators of bias:

  • What is the author's political point of view?
  • What does the author stand to gain?
  • Who is paying for the website?
  • Does the author present alternate points of view?
  • If so, are those views presented objectively?

Domains

Domains

The domain name indicates the organization responsible for the site (www.laney.edu). The top-level domain indicates the type of site (edu).

The most common top-level domains and the type of site they indicate are:

  • com  commercial business or for-profit organizations
  • gov   United States government agencies
  • edu   educational institutions
  • mil    United States military organizations
  • org    non-profit organizations

In general, .edu and .gov web sites are more reliable than .com web sites. 

Reference / Instruction Librarian

Phillippa Caldeira's picture
Phillippa Caldeira
Contact:
pcaldeira@peralta.edu
Website

Laney College Library || 900 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94607 || Phone: (510) 464-3497 || Fax: (510) 464-3264