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What is Objectivity?

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Objectivity is the pursuit of truth in communication and decision making. The following are common elements of objectivity:


Basing analysis on facts. Where there is uncertainty, using what you do know as your basis. This implies that you verify information using credible sources.


Cognitive biases are patterns of illogical thought. Being able to identify and eliminate biases in your thought processes improves objectivity by making your interpretations more accurate and truthful.


Setting aside your feelings about a situation, person or topic. For example, a reporter who covers a government policy that makes them emotional without letting this influence the story.


Overdramatizing things harms objectivity because it exaggerates the truth. For example, a CEO who suggests that her firm will completely dominate an industry within a few years when this is highly unlikely. It is common to exaggerate for some type of personal gain or simply to be more interesting.


Carefully considering relevant perspectives and viewpoints without rushing to judgement or taking sides. For example, a reporter who considers the posibility that an accused could be innocent.


Not pushing an agenda such as a political viewpoint or cause that you care about. For example, a moderator in an election debate who isn't trying to get one side elected.


Following a diligent process to get at the truth as opposed to taking easy shortcuts. For example, a scientist who strictly follows the scientific method.

View From Nowhere

A view from nowhere is trying so hard to be "balanced" that you neglect the truth. This often takes the form of weak analysis that compares a reasonable idea and a unreasonable idea as if they were two equally valid viewpoints. For example, "some believe the Earth is approximately spherical while others suggest that it is more likely flat." This is misleading as it suggests a known fact is a controversial issue. Objectivity should not be confused with having no viewpoint, objectivity is the viewpoint that only cares for the truth.
Overview: Objectivity
Definition (1)
The pursuit of truth in communication and decision making.
Definition (2)
A viewpoint that cares only for the truth.
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