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Think Like a Researcher: Instruction Resources: #7 Avoiding Researcher Bias

Teaching Research And Information Literacy (TRAIL) Curriculum Resources for Writing 10


Course Learning Outcome:  Demonstrate information literacy and be able to work with evidence

Goal:  Increase students’ awareness of the need to recognize their own bias when approaching research

Specifically, students will be able to

  • Understand the need for objectivity when researching and writing

Lesson: Avoiding Researcher Bias


  • Pre-questions
  • Video: Researcher Mike Rugg Talks About His Bigfoot Sightings
  • Post-questions


1) Pre-video discussion questions:

  • Do you believe that Bigfoot really exists? Why or why not?
  • Have any of you done serious research on the subject of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, yetis, etc.?
  • Have any of you ever seen Bigfoot or some other type of man-beast?

Consider these questions as we watch a video narrated by researcher Mike Rugg. He will be discussing his own experience with Bigfoot and academic bias.

2) YouTube Video: Researcher Mike Rugg talks about his Bigfoot Sightings and Academic Bias (9:25 minutes)

3) Post-video discussion questions:

  • What kind of researcher bias did Mike Rugg encounter from his professor while he was a student at Stanford?
  • Would you consider Mike Rugg an unbiased researcher? Why or why not?

Mike Rugg Video


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Research Journal

Avoiding Researcher Bias

After watching the Bigfoot video and discussing it in class, think about how you can avoid researcher bias as you begin searching for information. Answer these questions as you consider your research paper assignment.

  • How can framing your research as a question rather than a statement help you to avoid researcher bias?
  • If you are going to be writing about something that is important to you, how will you ensure that you find and use information that may be contrary to your opinion on the subject?