Bias in User Research

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Published Oct 28, 2023Updated Nov 18, 2023
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In user research, bias refers to prejudices or tendencies in researchers’ and participants’ ways of thinking that can lead to inaccurate or skewed results.

To obtain accurate, useful data, researchers must be aware of their own biases. Researchers can also work to prevent participants from displaying common biases by strategically designing their studies. When analyzing results, researchers should consider how bias may have impacted the data, especially if the data is self-reported.

Following are the various types of bias that might be encountered:

Bias in User Research

Acquiescence Bias
The tendency to agree with the interviewer.
Confirmation Bias
The tendency for researchers to interpret data in a way that supports their opinions and beliefs.
Demand Characteristics Bias
A change in how a user answers questions due to the knowledge that they are part of a research study.
Framing Effect
Occurs when select the more positively worded option.
Interviewer Bias
Bias due to the way a participant perceives the interviewer.
Response Bias
The tendency to consciously or subconsciously provide inaccurate information due to the nature of self-reporting.
Social Desirability Bias
A tendency to provide answers that align with characteristics or viewpoints that the participant views as socially desirable.

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