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June 24, 2023

Understanding The Different Types Of Bias And How To Avoid Them

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Regardless of the type of research program that you handle, it’s important to understand that there are so many ways for bias to enter your research. As a seasoned researcher, it’s best to always identify that your research can never be 100% free from bias. With that said, you might wonder why research bias is a problem for researchers and why there isa need to avoid this problem. You might also be wondering how to identify and control research bias from occurring to ensure that you’re able to deliver the best type of rein your research.

Reducing bias is not only targeted at making everyone the same, but it aims at ensuring that research questions are posed thoughtfully and in a manner that makes it easier for respondents to clearly reveal their feelings without altering anything. Bias in research can exist in qualitative research as well as quantitative research.

Reducing research bias begins with identifying the main sources of bias. This article will take you through some of the courses of research bias that you should know, especially in qualitative research. Continue reading to find out more.

Respondent Bias

Here’s an overview of the respondent bias that you should know:

Acquiescence Bias

People also call this yea-saying, and it’s a bias that takes place when your respondents show the potential to agree or be positive about what you present. Basically, they think all your ideas are good and will definitely like them. There are people with acquiescent personalities, while others simply believe that the interviewer is an expert at what he does.

Social Desirability Bias

This is a bias that occurs when the respondents answer questions such that they are liked or accepted. People are prone to always present themselves in a manner that places them in the best light, and this is even if it means them giving inaccurate reports. The best way for researchers to reduce this bias is by emphasizing unconditional positive regard.


This type of bias occurs when respondents provide a similar answer to questions. You’ll find that their responses are worded similarly as well. Paying attention and being responsive can be energy-consuming. To avoid this type of bias, there’s a need for moderators to be able o maintain engaging conversations and make changes to theword they use in asking questions.

Sponsor Bias

In a case where the respondents have knowledge of who is sponsoring the research, they are likely to give answers that are influenced by their opinions and feelings about the person. It’s important for moderators to be able to navigate this type of bias, and they can do this by limiting moderator reinforcement and maintaining a neutral stance.

Researcher Bias

Bias doesn’t occur with the respondent alone, but they can also arise from the researchers. Here’s an overview of the researcher bias that you should know:

Confirmation bias

This is one of the most pervasive and longest-recognized forms of bias that occurs in research. It’s a result of a researcher’s potential to form beliefs or hypotheses and confirms these beliefs from the information that respondents give. Minimizing this type of bias begins with researchers reevaluating the impressions of their respondents. They also need to be able to challenge preexisting hypotheses and assumptions.

Culture Bias

This bias occurs when our cultural lens influences and motivates research findings. However, to minimize this type of bias, there’s a need to switch to cultural relativism and be cognizant of cultural assumptions. It’s worth mentioning that it’s 100% possible to achieve complete cultural relativism.

Question-order Bias

A question can affect the answer that comes from other questions, and this is where question-order bias begins. In some cases, this type of bias cannot be avoided, but it’s advisable to always begin by asking general questions first before fully switching to more direct and specific questions.

Leading Questions and Wording Bias

When you elaborate on the answers of your respondents, you only end up putting words into their mouths. It’s worth noting that leading questions and wording bias are not actually bias themselves, but they can lead to bias in many cases. The best way to reduce this type of bias is by asking questions about the implications of their reactions and thoughts. Do not summarize what they said ormake an assumption from what they say.

The Halo Effect

Both respondents and moderators are likely to see someone or a thing in a particular light because of a positive or single attribute they have. Hallo effects are a result of many cognitive reasons, and it’s important for researchers to be able to avoid this type of bias.

Regardless of the type of bias, there are steps that can be taken to minimize them in both qualitative and quantitative research. The first step towards minimizing them is by knowing the different types of bias in research.

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