A thoughtful and interesting examination about Internet users and their perception of bias, considering how various design and technical characteristics of displayed content may contribute to this perception.
The authors crafted a research process to examine the effects a certain feature from a web page can have over a wide survey base, so that comparison can be made as different elements were removed or retained. In isolation, the elements were not controversial and were standard features that can be found on many websites, but the research concluded that a wide difference in bias perception existed and this can have a impact on news-orientated websites.
The introduction and literature review were relatively short but motivated, leading into an excellent methodology description that could easily be ‘borrowed’ or ‘adapted’ for similar research in the future. The methodology also could be acting as part literature review as it details the elements and impact of bias quite deeply. There was a surprisingly detailed breakdown of the research participants’ demographic status, which was interesting and relevant. The actual research results were broadly analysed and the data presented in relatively clear text, despite the mass of statistical data at its core.
The discussion and subsequent conclusion sections were quite short but to the point, providing compelling reasons for future research and giving interesting insight to the findings. In a relatively short article the authors have managed to get across details of a fairly ambitious research programme that yielded interesting data points and scope for future research.
Spillane, B., Lawless, S. and Wade, V., 2017. Perception of bias: the impact of user characteristics, website design and technical features. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Web Intelligence (pp. 227-236). ACM. DOI:10.1145/3106426.3106474
A post-publication review of this article that appears on Publons.