Objective Writing Tips: Keeping Your Research Paper Free of Bias
Objective writing is essential for writing an effective and credible research paper. Bias weakens your position and your paper. You can keep your research paper bias free by paying close attention to your research, language and construction and looking at the following aspects of your paper:
- Source material
- Opposing viewpoints
- Chosen language
- Pronoun usage
- Expressed thoughts
Objective writing tip #1: Evaluate your sources for bias
For any research paper, you want reliable, credible sources. Every source should be evaluated during the research process to maintain objective writing. Sticking with scholarly journal articles and publications is one way to avoid bias. A second is to seek websites that have “.edu,” “.gov” or “.org” domain extensions. Not every site, article or book presents information free of bias. In addition, some sources have hidden agendas. Because of this, always evaluate your sources.
Objective writing tip #2: Balance your position with the opposing view(s)
A good research paper is balanced with every side or argument of a topic. Objective writing means including arguments that take a different position and explaining those opposing viewpoints thoroughly within the body of your paper. You can refute opposing views with supporting evidence that logically shows why your unbiased argument is a stronger one. In addition, include reliable details and evidence that is supportive of your assertions and thesis statement.
Objective writing tip #3: Use objective language
Objective writing is about always presenting information fairly and credibly to allow someone to draw conclusions. Avoid subjective language whenever possible to increase the credibility and objectivity of your words. For example, avoid using any language that is construed as a value judgment, such as “wonderful,” “awesome” or “sarcastically.” Similarly, avoid overly emotional phrasing and any adjectives or adverbs that exaggerate. For example, avoid using “very” or “really” to emphasize a point. Also reword any language that singles out a specific group of people in a negative light.
Objective writing tip #4: Avoid first-person and second-person pronouns
While taking one side of an issue over another is clearly based on your opinion, you can make objective writing a reality by avoiding first-person and second-person pronouns. The fact that the paper is yours makes it clear that the ideas, thoughts and conclusions that are not cited are your own. Unless you are conducting primary research and discussing it, write in the third person using third-person pronouns when applicable. Otherwise, personal comments, such as “I think” or “my opinion is” come across more as a biased opinion rather than a logical argument with supporting evidence.
Objective writing tip #5: Express your thoughts explicitly
Objective writing is also achieved through expressing your thoughts explicitly. The more specific you are with certain pieces of information, the stronger your argument and the stronger the supporting evidence. For example, instead of writing “most of the world,” write “82 percent of the world’s population.” Specifics help keep your writing objective and your argument credible.
Keeping your writing objective is essential to writing an effective, credible and well-presented research paper. By following these tips to keep your writing bias free and working through the research process and the writing process, you can achieve objective writing that keeps your argument and supporting evidence as the main factors that help your readers draw conclusions.
- Identify the author's thesis and purpose
- Analyze the structure of the passage by identifying all main ideas
- Consult a dictionary or encyclopedia to understand material that is unfamiliar to you
- Make an outline of the work or write a description of it
- Write a summary of the work
- Determine the purpose which could be
- To inform with factual material
- To persuade with appeal to reason or emotions
- To entertain (to affect people's emotions)
- If the purpose is to inform, has the material been presented clearly, accurately, with order and coherence?
- If the purpose is to persuade, look for evidence, logical reasoning, contrary evidence
- If the purpose was to entertain, determine how emotions are affected: does it make you laugh, cry, angry? Why did it affect you?
SAMPLE OUTLINE FOR CRITICAL ESSAY
After the passage under analysis has been carefully studied, the critique can be drafted using this sample outline.
- I. Background information to help your readers understand the nature of the work
- A. Information about the work
- 1. Title
- 2. Author
- 3. Publication information
- 4. Statement of topic and purpose
- B. Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
- II. Summary or description of the work
- III. Interpretation and/or evaluation
- A. Discussion of the work's organization
- B. Discussion of the work's style
- C. Effectiveness
- D. Discussion of the topic's treatment
- E. Discussion of appeal to a particular audience
Avoid introducing your ideas by stating "I think" or "in my opinion." Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself. Identifying your opinions weakens them.
Always introduce the work. Do not assume that because your reader knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the work's title.
Other questions to consider: Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?
What about the subject matter is of current interest?
What is the overall value of the passage?
What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined. Do not forget to document quotes and paraphrases.
Remember that the purpose of a critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something.
Even though as a writer you set the standards, you should be open-minded, well informed, and fair. You can express your opinions, but you should also back them up with evidence.
Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.