Look what arrived in the mail! Author copies!
This one was really tough to research. Everyone has an opinion about cancel culture. But I’m not writing based on opinion. I need to find facts and I need to avoid bias as much as possible. These tips will help you avoid bias when you have a tough topic to research.
Identify Your Own Bias
We are all biased. That’s the first thing that you need to realize. So when you start to research a topic the first thing you need to do is identify your own biases.
I understood the temptation to use cancel culture. Think back to #MeToo. Often it seems like cancel culture is the only way to call someone to account for their actions.
But cancel culture makes me profoundly uneasy. It seems like someone can make mistep and find themselves at the center of a contraversy. I was going to have to be careful to avoid these biases in selecting my examples and writing about them.
Know the Difference Between Fact and Opinion
Everyone has an opinion on cancel culture. And many of the pieces published about cancel culture are based on these opinions more than fact. “So-and-so was ruined because they mispoke.” Were they? They were certainly embarrassed but how do you quantify ruin?
This sent me into the fields of psychology (the mental impact of cancel culture), communications (the stages of a scandal), and sociology (how scandals work within society). Once I found actual academic disciplines studying cancel culture I was on my way to understanding how it works.
Be Ready to Change Your Mind
Once you’ve identified your biases and found fact based information, you need to be prepared to change your mind. As I read, I learned about the birth of cancel culture and how it has been used by people who frequently have little or no power to otherwise demand justice. I may not like cancel culture, but I understand why some people feel they have no other way to be heard.
My publisher has each title reviewed by an expert who can tell us if I’ve covered all the bases. I owe a note of thanks to Sergei Samoilenko of CARP Lab for lending his expertise to the project. The Character Assassination and Reputation Politics Lab is an interdisciplinary effort that studies the impact of scandal, cancel culture and more. This one has definitely been a learning experience for this author!