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COMM 305
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Critical Thinkinganalyzing the validity of arguments presented in a textIdentify Claims authors major conclusionsDetermine soundness of causal logic Deconstruct use of persuasive languageDescribeevaluate supporting evidence Uncover assumptionsvalues ClaimMajor conclusion of a piece of writing that the author is trying to persuade you to acceptExplicitly or Implicitly stated can be reexamined years laterCue words Therefore thus in summary I believe that clearly in short1 2 Unproblematic Claims 2 1Contestable claimsNot commonly accepted knowledgeConsistent with our own experiences andobservationsOften introduce new ideas that awaken curiosityFacts independent of interpretationSometimes presented as if it were a factAgreement among experts or strongly supportedgeneral claims that are common senseCannot stand on their ownTechnical or mathematical claimsIdentifying ClaimsWriting your own claims effectively Presenting others claimsPresent main ideas with clarity and emphasisIntelligible and fair summaryClaim near the beginning or endConcept listsconcept mapsCue words Make your titles work for you Make claim memorable for your readers Can consist of Statistics EvidenceAny statement that is a response to the question Why this is trueDetails of past eventsFinding the Evidence Claim evidenceargumentAnecdotes Written account Cue wordsBecause As a result In the first place For example In addition Criteria to test the quality of the evidence Accuracy correct I am tall accurate but not precisePrecisionno ambiguous wordsnumbersdirect quotesSufficiencyhow much evidence enough avoid fallacy of generalizationRepresentativeness varietymore sourcesbetter represents popAuthority people with training credentials experiencefallacy of appeal to authority currentoldClarity of expressionquantitative data should be interpreted leave nothing unexplainedUnderlying Assumptions Value AssumptionThis cannot be proven its our ideals or standards of whats right or wrong Lying is bad people ought toWhich of these are value assumptions be friendly They are unstated Author takes it for granted that 1 I love chocolate reader will fill in the gap but people have different assumptions 2 Everybody loves pizza3 Most people value money Reality Assumption Our beliefs about what events have taken 4 All of the above place what exists You do assume or you dont To challenge this 5 None of the above we must present info showing that the authors notions of reality are debatable or just plain wrong Its not deap seatedUnderlying assumptionslogical link that fills the gap between the evidence and the claimImplicit or explicit principles that form the bases of our beliefsreasoningTell us whether evidence provided for a claim is relevantReality assumptions our beliefs about reality about the way things are Value assumptions our ideals our standards of right and wrong the way things ought to be Challenging underlying assumptionsCritiquing Causal claimsCausal explanation Authors interpretation of causeeffect relationshipsRival causes The same evidence can be consistent with different interpretationsExamine critically causal explanations of Differences between groups Association of characteristics Reverse causationEffect of 3rd variableClaims of post hoc ergo propter hocEx What is the implicit causal assumptionFast food and obesityCan you think of an alternative explanation Lawyers have begun filing cases against fast food What type of rival cause is your alternative chains like McDonalds and Wendys arguing that the rise in obesity and such diseases as diabetes isWhat is the causal explanation directly linked to fast food consumption StudiesCan you think of alternative causal explanations show that the increase in body mass of North Americans coincides with a proliferation of fastfood restaurants
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