Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
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
Evaluating quality, reliability, value of info
Evaluating articles, documents, witnesses, websites
Distinguish good source from bad
Good argument from poor
Logical basis for decisions
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
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
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
o Summarized state of knowledge
o Focus on primary sources
o Reader can refer to original article to evaluate
Stated at beginning and repeated in conclusions
Scientific paper – test hypothesis
o Hypothesis = statement that attempts to describe and explain a group
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 **
o Criteria used
o Can be repeated by others
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
Concrete language –