There is no such thing as a truly unbiased source. When researching a topic or making up your mind on an issue, expose yourself to a variety of viewpoints and perspectives to see all sides of an issue.
We must actively seek out information that runs counter to our pre-existing biases and beliefs.”President James Herbert from Universities as the Marketplace of Ideas
Universities are a marketplace of ideas that lead to learning and growth. UNE’s core value of relentless inquiry states that we take nothing for granted and view thoughtful – even uncomfortable – questioning as essential to the pursuit of knowledge. We encourage learners to seek out diverse perspectives in this pursuit. Viewpoint diversity helps people answer questions and solve problems from a range of perspectives.
WHAT YOU SEE AND WHAT YOU DON’T
Every internet search or social media click builds a profile of your information habits. This profile leads search engines and social media platforms to show you results similar to what you searched and clicked on. This can lead to a filtering of the information you see when you search or use social media, often called an information silo.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information which supports our pre-existing ideas, and to ignore or reject ideas and information which challenge those views.
When combined, algorithms which tailor content to your pre-existing preferences and confirmation bias can lead to unbalanced perspectives, discourages constructive debate, and can lead to extreme ideologies. Most importantly, if you are only getting your information from one side of an issue, you are missing half of the picture!
Many media sources have a particular perspective and aim to sway the reader towards their point of view. Carefully evaluating your media sources can teach you to recognize bias and decide if a source is appropriate to use or to share with others. Media bias is not the same as disinformation or fake news, which is false or misleading information made to look legitimate. Use the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart to check which way your preferred news sources lean and consider choosing a source from the opposite side to provide a more balanced understanding of an issue.
RESOURCES FOR VIEWPOINT DIVERSITY
We provide access to resources and materials which represent a variety of perspectives on controversial matters. You will find a range of viewpoints in our databases, books and journal collections. See our collection development policy.
These resources compile perspectives on all sides of controversial issues:
- All Sides Red and Blue Dictionary
- Multiperspective analysis of controversial terms.
- Heterodox Academy
- A community of educators and students who believe diverse viewpoints and open inquiry are critical to research and learning.
- The Flip Side
- The most thoughtful points on a topic from the left, right, and in-between—across 30+ news sources. Free, but requires an email subscription.
- Journal of Controversial Ideas
- Peer-reviewed, open access journal that offers a forum for careful, rigorous, unpolemical discussion of issues that are widely considered controversial.
- Opposing Viewpoints
- Research database that helps learners explore all sides of an issue to develop critical-thinking skills and draw their own conclusions.
We welcome your suggestions for additional resources to explore viewpoint diversity
Questions & Help
If you have questions on this, or another, topic, contact a librarian for help!