Article writers are often required to adapt many different writing styles to deliver content in the manner requested. Many of these projects involve remaining impartial and stating facts without favouring any particular viewpoint. However, when writing about controversial topics, this can be trickier than one would think.
When a writer is asked to “remain neutral” while writing an article, they are being told to avoid taking a position. With this approach, the goal is to present each side’s viewpoints fairly and allow the reader to draw their own conclusion about which side is right.
Some people may assume that remaining neutral is taking a middle view between two opposing viewpoints; however, neutrality actually refers to taking no position on the matter. If you are writing an article about a controversial topic, you will need to present the main views of each side correctly.
It’s important to provide the best possible argument for each viewpoint with all the evidence that is available. This may sound easy to do, but there are other factors that make this task more challenging.
For example, if you are writing a neutral article on climate change, you will need to provide each side’s argument with an equal amount of space. However, the quantity of evidence stating that climate change is occurring may outnumber the evidence stating otherwise by a wide margin. As a result, one side’s evidence may be overrepresented in the article, while the other sides could be underrepresented.
Methods for Staying Neutral
The concept of neutrality isn’t limited to just the writer’s intentional biases. In some situations, writers may be using non-neutral terms without realizing it. Here are some things to look out for when you are writing an article in a neutral manner.
Writers should avoid making generalizations about groups of individuals. For example, the statement “Electricians consider safety to be a top priority” makes the assumption that all electricians believe that safety should be a top priority.
A more neutral-sounding sentence would be “Some electricians consider safety as a top priority”. This version is factually correct and accounts for the fact that not all electricians hold the same beliefs.
Providing evidence when possible
Making statements as facts should be avoided in the absence of evidence. The sentence “You are more likely to be bitten by a Labrador than by a Pitbull” is not neutral, as it fails to provide evidence for the claim.
A better approach is to state “A survey conducted by The Coalition for Living Safely With Dogs in 2007 found that Labradors accounted for 13.3% of reported dog bites, while pitbulls accounted for only 8.4%”. This statement provides figures and does not make any assumptions about the likelihood of being bitten by a particular breed.
Use Descriptive Language
The statement “We surveyed overweight patients for our study” may sound neutral at first glance. However, the term “overweight” hasn’t been defined. A more neutral statement would be “We surveyed patients weighing over 350 lbs for our study”. This offers specific details so that the reader understands exactly who the study refers to.
Use Gender-Neutral Terms
It’s important to use gender-neutral terms that do not make assumptions about a subject’s gender when writing a neutral article. A statement such as “A construction worker can repair his tools at the worksite” does not account for the existence of female construction workers.
A more neutral sounding statement would be “A construction work can repair their tools at the worksite”.
Another non-neutral practice is to label certain groups by their characteristics or behaviours, instead of as individuals. A non-neutral statement would be “The golfers completed two full rounds at the golf course” refers to the subjects as golfers rather than as individuals.
A more neutral sounding statement would be “The people playing golf completed two full rounds at the golf course”.
Use Similar Wording for Different Groups
The statement “The man from America and the European met at Sunview Beach” uses different terms to refer to each subject. The more neutral statement would be “The man from America and the man from Europe met at Sunview Beach”. This keeps the wording more consistent and sounds neutral.
As you can see, there are many different considerations to keep in mind when writing a neutral article. For this reason, some people use professional article writing services to write unbiased and SEO friendly articles for them. If you are a writer yourself, you should keep the aforementioned points in mind when you are working on your next neutral article.