Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject’s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met and are “bias-free”; that is, existing without biases caused by, feelings, ideas, etc. of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without bias or external influence (see journalistic objectivity); this second meaning of objectivity is sometimes used synonymously with neutrality.
In research, objectivity is the goal that researchers aspire to achieve in their work, in order to minimize biases and personal prejudices. This means that researchers should strive to collect and present data in an unbiased way, without any sort of personal interpretation or spin. Objectivity is an important ideal to uphold in scientific research, as it helps to ensure that the results of a study are as accurate and reliable as possible.
There are a number of ways that objectivity can be compromised in research. For instance, if a researcher has a personal stake in the outcome of a study, this can bias their results. Additionally, if a researcher is only considering data that supports their own hypothesis, they may be inadvertently excluding important information that could disprove their theory. It is therefore important for researchers to be aware of their own biases and to take steps to avoid them.
There are a number of ways to increase objectivity in research. One way is to use blind or double-blind methods, in which the researcher and/or participants are not aware of which condition they are in. This can help to prevent biases from creeping into the results. Another way to increase objectivity is to use objective measures, such as standardized tests, rather than subjective measures, such as surveys. Objective measures are less likely to be influenced by personal biases.
Despite the importance of objectivity, it is important to remember that it is not always possible to achieve 100% objectivity in research. This is because humans are inherently subjective creatures and it is impossible to completely remove our personal biases from our thinking. However, by taking steps to minimize bias and by using objective measures whenever possible, researchers can increase the objectivity of their work and ensure that their results are as accurate as possible.