Analyzing for Bias


Analyze sources of information for bias and use that analysis to articulate a point of view and demonstrate its impact.

Instructional Purpose

To teach the structure and variations of various forms of expression such as editorials, editorial or political cartoons, and propaganda in advertising. To teach a general approach to analyzing messages and developing a point of view in one of the above modes of expression.

Critical Thinking Skills:

  • Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.
  • Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.
  • Students collect, evaluate and employ information from primary and secondary sources, and apply it in written and oral presentations.




Can be applied to any form of expression that can be read fairly quickly and for which there are at least a half-dozen examples accessible on the web. Can be applied not only to written and oral forms (editorials, propaganda in advertising, or letters to the editor) but to visual forms (editorial and political cartoons or propaganda posters).


Should not be used with forms of expression that would take too long to get through (e.g., novels), or with literary forms. Care must be taken not to confuse this pattern of Webquest with debate design, genre analysis, or character design, although there is some overlap with persuasive design.


If time does not permit doing all parts of the Webquest, do only one or two. That is, stop at the analysis phase and end with a class discussion on multiple points of view, recognizing bias, credibility of sources, persuasive techniques, and/or strategies used to appeal to readers. Or begin with the components of editorials, editorial and political cartoons, and/or propaganda advertisements, and use that as the jumping off place for students to develop their own point of view in the form of an editorial, political or editorial cartoon, and/or propaganda poster.

(Note: depending on the length of the quest, focus can limited to one of the above forms in terms of the end product).

This Design Pattern was authored by Roxanne Pompilio