Topic 5 Objectivity
One of the characteristics of ‘good’ information identified earlier was that it should be ‘balanced’. In an ideal world, ‘objective’ or ‘balanced’ information would present all the evidence for and against, and leave you to weigh this up and draw conclusions. In the real world, however, we recognise that all information presents a position of interest, although this may not necessarily be intentional. Objectivity may therefore be an unachievable ideal.
This means that the onus is on you as the reader and user of the information to develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read, and to take account of this when you interpret the information. In some cases, authors may explicitly express a particular viewpoint – this is perfectly valid as long as they are open about the perspective they represent. Hidden bias, whether or not it is deliberate, can be misleading. This could be particularly important in a subject area where there is controversy (e.g. genetically modified food, abortion).