Is Google Neutral?: Unpacking Algorithmic Bias in Search Systems

Event Date: 
March 5, 2021 / 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Online via WebEx

Presenter: Andrea Baer, History and Political Science Librarian,

Learning Objectives:

Identify scenarios in which algorithmic bias may influence search results in a given online environment.

Identify and apply simple strategies for recognizing and counteracting the negative effects of algorithmic bias. 


People often think of technology and search engines like Google as neutral and unbiased. But search engine algorithms and other technologies frequently reflect larger societal biases. Google and other search engines also rank search results based partly on ad revenue that benefits them, rather than prioritizing source relevance or credibility.   

There are a good number of people who are working actively to minimize and counteract the negative effects of bias in search systems. But this bias is still prevalent. One thing you can do immediately is to increase your awareness of these biases and to develop search and evaluation strategies that work to question those biases. In this workshop you’ve become familiar with where “algorithmic bias” might show up and strengthen your abilities to counteract it.

Related research guide: 

Skill levels for attendees: Little to no experience, Some experience

Software requirements: None