I was going to ask about definition (explanation) of the word "bias". But I am wondering if it is a right question for Physic forum.

This is the part of FAQ describing what type of questions should be asked here:

  • Explanations of observed physical or astronomical phenomena Why does one experience a short pull in the wrong direction when a vehicle stops?

  • Experimental designs and results
    What is needed to claim the discovery of the Higgs boson ?

  • Experimental technology used in physics or astronomy How to stabilize an unstable telescope?

  • Accepted and/or actively researched theories Why do we think there are only three generations of fundamental particles?

  • Mathematics and physics Number theory in physics

Clearly, my question does not belong to any of these categories. So maybe I should rather ask at English Language & Usage section since I am going to ask about a definition of a word.

However what I seek is more like practical example in physic for better understanding of the word.

Which section is more suitable for such questions?


2 Answers 2


Unless your question is really specific (which it probably isn't), try the chat room.

In general, yes, EL&U would be a better place to ask about a definition of such a general term - but they would expect you to check a dictionary and encyclopedia first, and to explain why the information you find there doesn't answer your question.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, I of course already read several dictionaries but I still don't know. I am not English native speaker and I find difficult to really understand what does bias mean. Also what crossed my mind is to post the question at mathematical section since I am seeking more for statistical definition or some example from practise rather than a lecture from English language. And yes I can be more specific (refer to articles where the bias is mentioned,...) $\endgroup$
    – MasterPJ
    Jul 5, 2012 at 11:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In that case, perhaps you would have to check a translation dictionary between English and your native language. You can't just ask for a definition on EL&U. Also, by "really specific" I mean something like "In the paper hep-ph/xxyy.zzww just before equation (4), what bias are the authors talking about?" $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jul 5, 2012 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ OK, so the conclusion I made is following: The suitability of the questions explanation of the word "bias" strongly depends HOW I will ask. Therefore, I will try to Google the bias (systematic error) as much as I can and then if something will be not clear I will, according to HOW I will formulate the question, post it here or somewhere else. Obviously I don't know enough to decide now. - When you do not know where to ask, you do not know enough to ask. $\endgroup$
    – MasterPJ
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:14

"Bias" is a funny word. There is an everyday meaning. There is a technical meaning in statistics. And there is a technical meaning in some areas of physics. There might be other fields that use the word, too.

The meaning it has in physics relates to an underlying physical phenomenon, so I would expect that to be on topic here. The statistics meaning is completely different, but is sometimes used in physics. There is an important statistics concept underlying it, so it might be on topic there.

  • $\begingroup$ That would be my opinion too, but obviously it depends on how I would formulate my question. $\endgroup$
    – MasterPJ
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:09

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