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Chapter 9 Notes

by: Emily Clark

Chapter 9 Notes HNRS 2010

Emily Clark
Introduction to Critical Thinking
Dawn Shinew

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Here is an outline style of notes for chapter 9.
Introduction to Critical Thinking
Dawn Shinew
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Clark on Saturday October 3, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to HNRS 2010 at Bowling Green State University taught by Dawn Shinew in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Critical Thinking in OTHER at Bowling Green State University.


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Date Created: 10/03/15
Asking the Right QHBStiOIlS Chapter 9 How good is the Evidence Personal Observation Research Studies and Analogies Naturally we feel confident of something we actually see We tend to rely on eyewitness testimony as evidence However personal observations turn out to be untrustworthy evidence Observers cannot give us pure observations Their reports are filtered through a set of values biases attitudes and expectations Many situations present major impediments to seeing accurately Poor attention rapid movement of events and stressful environments as some causes You need to determine whether there are good reasons to rely on such reports The most reliable reports come from several people who were observing the situation under optimal conditions and have no strong biases or expectations Research studies that systematically collect observations by people trained to so scientific research are one form of authority They rely extensively on observations and are often highly regarded as forms of evidence Research Studies use the scientific method to prove their claims The scientific method seeks information in the form of publically verifiable data Meaning it can be done by multiple people with the same results The experiment seems more credible if it is able to be repeated by others A second major characteristic of scientific control is control Unfortunately control is difficult in the social world that in the physical world It is difficult to apply scientific method to many questions about complex human behavior Precision in language is a the major component of the scientific method Scientific method tries to be precise and consistent in its use of language When well conducted scientific research is one of the best sources of evidence because it emphasizes reduplication control and precision Unfortunately the fact that research has been applied to a problem does not mean that the research evidence is dependable evidence or the interpretations of the meaning of the evidence are accurate When communicators appeal to research as a source of evidence you should remember the following Research varies greatly in quality Research findings often contradict each other Research findings do not prove conclusions Researchers have expectations attitudes values and needs that bias the questions they ask the way they conduct their research and the way they interpret their research findings Speakers and writers often distort or simplify research conclusions Research facts change over time especially claims about human behavior Research varies in how artificial it is The need for financial gain status security and other factors can affect research outcomes and the selection of which studies will be published Despite the many positive qualities of research evidence we need to avoid embracing research conclusions prematurely However you should NOT reject a scientifically based conclusion just because there is SOME doubt associated with it Be wary of the reasoning error of demanding certainty in some conclusion when some uncertainty is to be expected but that does not negate the conclusion Assuming that a research conclusion should be rejected if it is not absolutely certain Speakers and writers usually use research reports to support generalizations or claims about events in general The ability to generalize from research findings depends on the number breadth and randomness of events or people in the research study The process of selecting events or persons to study is called sampling You need to keep several important considerations in mind when evaluating the research sample The sample must be large enough to justify the generalization or conclusion The sample must possess as much breadth or diversity as the types of events about which conclusions are to be drawn The more random the sample the better We want to ask of all research studies How many events or people did they sample how much breadth did the sample have and how random was the sample Failure to pay sufficient attention to the limits of sampling leads to overgeneralizing research findings All research requires decisions about how to measure the behaviors of interest Because concepts can be measured in many ways the conclusions of research are only appropriate to the measure of choice Some different devices that have been constructed to measure important behaviors are Questionnaires Responses to surveys Checklists Behaviors Some measures can be judged as much more accurate indicators of a behavior of interest than others Because results of research can only be generalized to the kind of measures used we need to ask How did the researchers measure the concepts of interest and how satisfactory is that measure When you evaluate research studies always ask What were the measures used and how satisfactory were they An important component of critical evaluation of all research is deciding how well you think that the measures in the research captured the meaning of the concepts of interest Also ask Are there other ways to measure the concept and if so might they provide different results Surveys and questionnaires are usually used to measure people s behavior attitudes and beliefs For surveys responses to be meaningful they must be answered honestly People shade the truth for many reasons They answer the way they think they should Rushing through the questions May respond with hostility They are confused about the question Many surveys have a lot of ambiguous words or are just interpreted differently The more ambiguous the wording of the survey the less credibility you can place in the results Surveys may contain builtinbiases in the wording or context A small change in the wording can have a big impact on the answer Look carefully at the wording of questions Another important contextual factor is length As surveys go on people may become more or less interested and give more or less thought to their answers Examine survey procedures before examining the results Even biased surveys can be informative but you need to know the biases in order to not be unduly persuaded by the findings Analogies seem very persuasive Ask yourself How do we decide whether an analogy is good evidence Analogies rely on resemblance and comparisons as a major form of evidence An argument using a wellknown similarity between two things as the basis for a conclusion about a relatively unknown characteristic of one of those things is an argument by analogy Such reasoning can be quite insightful and persuasive You can identify an argument by analogy by noticing that something that has wellknown characteristics is being used to help explain something that has some similar characteristics Note that analogies start with similarities and then are assumed that both will other important similarities Because analogical reasoning is so common and has potential to be both persuasive and faulty you will find it useful to recognize such reasoning and how to systematically evaluate it To evaluate the quality of an analogy you must focus on two factors The ways the two things being compared are similar and different The relevance of the similarities and the differences You can almost always find some similarities between any two things Strong analogies will be ones in which the two things we compare possess relevant similarities and lack relevant differences Another strategy that may help you evaluate reasoning by analogy is to generate alternative analogies for understanding the same phenomenon that the author or speaker is trying to understand A productive way to generate your own analogies is Identify some important features of what you are studying Try to identify other situations that you are familiar with that have some similar features Give free rein to your imagination Try to imagine diverse situations Try to determine whether the familiar situation can provide you with some insights about the unfamiliar situation Usually the greater proportion of the relevant similarities to relevant differences the stronger the analogy Occurs when an analogy is proposed in which there are important relevant dissimilarities In one sense all analogies are faulty because they make the mistaken assumption that because two things are alike in one or more aspects they are necessarily alike in some other important respect Experts are often wrong or misleading The following tips help to decide when you can most trust expert opinion You have avoided system 1 thinking and have relied on system 2 You have let thinking lead and emotion follow It passes scrutiny of the critical questions that you have learned to ask It includes qualifying statements It is not universal and recognizes limitations to the breadth of its application It is presented within a broad research context It has held up to critical scrutiny of other wellinformed experts Seek out sources that discuss indepth analysis of research claims It is impossible to evaluate all expert opinions in great depth Internet research has fundamentally changed evidence gathering for most of us making information exponentially more accessible We have to ask ourselves what s the tradeoff for this unprecedented level of availability We have to consider the evidence we gather this cornucopia of evidence with heightened levels of skepticism The importance of investigating a source s credibility is even greater when we add Internet sources to the equation There is no sheriff making sure that only true and fair statements are published online The Internet is relativity unrestricted Creators of a Web site may have a political commercial or even artistic agenda that is not readily apparent Even after deciding that a webbased author is reliable you should ask more questions Evidence that is questionable or untrue can easily be posted Take the time to look up the original source When a snippet of another article is posted or cited the author who posted the snippet may have misunderstood or taken the information out of context


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