Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question B   Burning Times
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question B Burning Times

on

  • 2,717 views

Part of a set of university teaching materials called "Encouraging Critical Thinking Online" by Meriel Patrick of Oxford University, made openly available for adaptation and re-use in the Intute ...

Part of a set of university teaching materials called "Encouraging Critical Thinking Online" by Meriel Patrick of Oxford University, made openly available for adaptation and re-use in the Intute Virtual Training Suite <http: />

Statistics

Views

Total Views
2,717
Views on SlideShare
1,211
Embed Views
1,506

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
5
Comments
0

6 Embeds 1,506

http://www.intute.ac.uk 1483
http://intute.ac.uk 11
http://www.slideshare.net 5
http://www.informs.intute.ac.uk 4
http://translate.googleusercontent.com 2
http://irsdev.intute.ac.uk:8105 1

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question B   Burning Times Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question B Burning Times Presentation Transcript

  • Encouraging Critical Thinking Online Unit 1 Checking Facts and Gathering Opinions
  • When and what were the ‘Burning Times’? How many people died as a result? • Find a selection of websites that address this question • Record your search strategy and what you find on the worksheet • Comment on any notable features of the sites or answers you discover
  • When and what were the ‘Burning Times’? • The phrase refers to the persecution of people accused of witchcraft in the early modern period (ca. 1450-1700) – A Google search for define:“Burning Times” produces a range of definitions, including this glossary
  • When and what were the ‘Burning Times’? • However: – In England and America, most people convicted of witchcraft were hanged – In Scotland and on the continent, burning was more common, but victims were rarely burnt alive – they were usually executed by other means first
  • When and what were the ‘Burning Times’? • Many academics prefer to avoid the term – Instead, more neutral terms such as ‘early modern persecution of witches’ or ‘witch hunts’ are preferred – But the term is still in frequent use in the neo-Pagan community
  • How many people died as a result? • Some popular estimates are as high as nine million • Most scholarly investigations put the figure at a few tens of thousands – Many websites reflect the scholarly research, but there are also sites which still give inflated figures
  • Example websites giving high estimates • The website Witch Prickers suggests “a maximum estimate of 13 million dead and a minimum estimate of 4 million” • Wiccan Terms and Definitions and the Wiccan Dictionary both suggest nine million
  • Example websites giving lower estimates • Religious Tolerance.org suggests between 50,000 and 100,000 • The article ‘Falsehoods of the Burning Times’ suggests 60,000 • Wicca: For the Rest of Us suggests between 40,000 and 100,000
  • Compare and contrast • Look at the example sites and consider: – Other than in the figures they give, how do these sites differ? – Who wrote these sites? What are their credentials? – Are sources/references given?
  • Compare and contrast • There is a significant difference in tone – Articles quoting higher numbers often use more emotive language – Those giving lower numbers are frequently couched as attempts to set the record straight
  • Compare and contrast • There may also be a marked difference in the picture painted – Sites giving higher numbers are more likely to identify the victims as Pagans or followers of ‘the Old Religion’ – The Catholic Church is more likely to be blamed
  • Compare and contrast • However, sites giving lower estimates are not immune from error – For example, Religious Tolerance.org implies that alleged witches were routinely burned alive
  • Compare and contrast • Sites with lower estimates more frequently give information about the author – From Religious Tolerance.org – From Wicca: For the Rest of Us • But this isn’t universally the case
  • Compare and contrast • Sites on this topic are frequently written by people with a keen personal interest rather than an academic background in the area • The occasional source is listed, but full references are rarely given
  • Alternative search strategies • Search using terms favoured by academics – Phrases like “witch hunt” and “ witch craze” produce slightly different results – Some more academic sites – e.g. The Witch Hunts, by Prof. Brian A. Pavlac – but still a fairly high proportion of non-scholarly material
  • Alternative search strategies • Use more specific search terms – Phrases like “witch hunt scholarship” or “witch hunt scholarly research” produce some useful hits – But not all the material is helpful: some is irrelevant, some only suited to in- depth research, and some requires subscription
  • Alternative search strategies • Consult a gateway – An academic gateway site such as Intute offers hand-selected resources – Searches give fewer results, but they’re more likely to be what you’re looking for
  • Alternative search strategies • Searching Intute for “Burning Times”, ‘ witch hunt’, or ‘witch craze’ gives a small number of (mostly) relevant results • A description of each site aids the process of determining what’s most useful • Also offered are additional features such as Limelight articles
  • Alternative search strategies • The hits include Jenny Gibbons’s informative essay ‘Recent Developments in the Study of the Grea • Gives the author’s credentials and mentions her sources (though still lacks detailed references)
  • Summary - key things to note • Popular and scholarly answers may vary widely • It’s useful to consult a variety of sources • Checking where the information given is drawn from is also wise
  • Why might we find conflicting answers to a question? • There may be real uncertainty about the answer • Authorities may disagree • There may be multiple ways of interpreting a question
  • Why might we find conflicting answers to a question? • Some sources may be more up to date than others • Answers may vary in precision • Some sources may simply be wrong
  • Questions to ask when assessing sources • Who is the author? – An individual or an institution? – What are the author’s credentials? • Is this a scholarly resource, or a more informal one? • How up to date is this source?
  • Questions to ask when assessing sources • Are there reasons to doubt the reliability of this source? – Does it include information I know to be false? – Does it contradict itself or use poor reasoning? – Is it biased towards a particular view?
  • Questions to ask when assessing sources • Is the information provided confirmed by other sources? – Are references provided? – Do other websites agree? (A major advantage of the Web is that many sources can be compared quickly and easily.)
  • Remember the three Ws • WHO wrote this site? – Is the author a trustworthy source? • WHEN was it written? – Is it up to date? • WHY was it written? – Does the author have an axe to grind?
  • This slideshow is part of Encouraging Critical Thinking Online, a set of free teaching resources designed to develop students’ analytic abilities, using the Web as source material. For the full set, please visit Intute Training: http://www.intute.ac.uk/training/