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ANT 205 LECTURE 2.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Carolan Wood

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving  Any discipline  Evaluate o Methods, theories, published articles etc. o Also evidence  Particularly in forensic sciences o Serious consequences o Produce chain of evidence strong enough to provide a solution Uses  Evaluating quality, reliability, value of info  Evaluating articles, documents, witnesses, websites  Distinguish good source from bad  Good argument from poor  Logical basis for decisions  Problem solving  How does forensic anthro use critical thinking for decisions or problem solving? ** or how do they use it in other disciplines? ** Forensic Anthro and critical thinking  Design search strategies  Determine best way to recover remains o Without damaging or losing evidence o Recovering all evidence, even in time sensitive situations o Forensic significance o Evaluate methods of sex, age, ancestry, stature o Confirm or refute identification o Interpret evidence at scene o Death incident – is it primary or secondary scene o Burial/deposition incident – evaluate intent o Subsequent events, eg scavenging o Evaluate damage done to bone o Establish manner/mode of death 6 Steps of a Critical Analysis  Overview  Clarify meaning  Examine methodology  Consider results  Examine conclusions  Is argument consistent reliable and probable? Step 1: overview of article  Read abstract or intro and conclusion o What author is trying to do? How? Did they succeed?  Are conclusions linked back to purpose, significance, goals and hypotheses? Will need to do this in assignment ** Type of statement  Argument o Statement based on observable evidence  Unsupported assertion o Bare statement with no supporting evidence  Reputable source will cite evidence  Appeal to authority o Evidence to support claim is someone other than author o Offers no observable evidence  Literature review o Summarized state of knowledge o Focus on primary sources o Reader can refer to original article to evaluate Author’s purpose  Stated at beginning and repeated in conclusions  Scientific paper – test hypothesis o Hypothesis = statement that attempts to describe and explain a group of observations Hypothesis  Causal - e.g. temp increases = rate of decomposition increases  Non-causal – e.g. pelvis is better indicator of sex than skull o Prediction – experiment tests Step 2 – clarify terms  Ideas/abstractions must be made concrete  Define all terms/concepts  In assignment define terms like what is forensic anthro **  Operational definitions o Criteria used o Can be repeated by others  Reliability Are definitions valid?  Skeletal feature associated with age o How is trait recognized? o How is age defined?  Skeletal or known age? o What age categories are used? o How were they determined?  Beware of arbitrary definitions Step 3 – examine methods  Appropriate for type of info required?  Can it be repeated?  Biases been addressed and overcome?  Bias = systematic error introduced into analysis o Many types of bias o Each method of data collection subject to specific bias Methods of data collection  Naturalistic observation o Events as they occur naturally o Observer may/may not participate o Solutions  Concrete language –
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