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Encouraging Critical
  Thinking Online

        Unit 1
  Checking Facts and
  Gathering Opinions
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• Find three websites that provide an
  answer
• Fill in the boxes...
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• It’s virtually impossible to arrive at
  an exact figure, so any...
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• Estimates may vary in precision
  – The first hit for a Google s...
Results of Google search for
   ‘how many Christians’




                          Retrieved 6 June 2008
Results of Google search for
   ‘how many Christians’




                          Retrieved 6 June 2008
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• Other first page hits give higher
 figures
  – Wikipedia says th...
Extract from Wikipedia article on
                  Christianity




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity   Retrieved...
Extract from Wikipedia article on
                  Christianity




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity   Retrieved...
Adherents.com’s figures




http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html   Retrieved 6 June 2008
Adherents.com’s figures




http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html   Retrieved 6 June 2008
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• The Wikipedia article has notes
 which show where the figures we...
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• Figures may vary because of different
    methods of calculation...
How many Christians are there in
      the world today?
• The answer will also vary depending on
  the definition of ‘Chri...
Extract from ReligiousTolerance.org




http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn.htm   Retrieved 8 August 2008
Extract from a Christian Century article
          on FindArticles.com




 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is...
Extract from a Christian Century article
          on FindArticles.com




 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is...
Summary - key things to note

• Answers may vary because of
  – Variations in precision
  – Different calculation methods
...
Why might we find conflicting
    answers to a question?
• There may be real uncertainty
  about the answer
• Authorities ...
Why might we find conflicting
    answers to a question?
• Some sources may be more up to
  date than others
• Answers may...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Who is the author?
  – An individual or an institution?
  – What are the...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Are there reasons to doubt the
 reliability of this source?
  – Does it ...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Is the information provided
 confirmed by other sources?
  – Are referen...
Remember the three Ws

• WHO wrote this site?
  – Is the author a trustworthy source?
• WHEN was it written?
  – Is it up ...
This slideshow is part of
Encouraging Critical Thinking Online,
   a set of free teaching resources
         designed to d...
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Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question A4 Christians Slide Share

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Part of a set of free teaching resources called "Encouraging Critical Thinking Online" by Meriel Patrick of Oxford University, written for the Intute Virtual Training Suite <http: />

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Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question A4 Christians Slide Share

  1. 1. Encouraging Critical Thinking Online Unit 1 Checking Facts and Gathering Opinions
  2. 2. How many Christians are there in the world today? • Find three websites that provide an answer • Fill in the boxes on the worksheet for each of them • Comment on any notable features of the sites or answers you discover
  3. 3. How many Christians are there in the world today? • It’s virtually impossible to arrive at an exact figure, so any answer will be an estimate – Though some sources may not explicitly acknowledge this • Estimates will differ for a variety of reasons
  4. 4. How many Christians are there in the world today? • Estimates may vary in precision – The first hit for a Google search for “ How many Christians?” gives an answer of ‘more than one billion’ – This isn’t wrong, but it’s easy to find estimates for more than twice this number
  5. 5. Results of Google search for ‘how many Christians’ Retrieved 6 June 2008
  6. 6. Results of Google search for ‘how many Christians’ Retrieved 6 June 2008
  7. 7. How many Christians are there in the world today? • Other first page hits give higher figures – Wikipedia says there are ‘between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion’ – Adherents.com suggests 2.1 billion, or about 33% of the world’s population
  8. 8. Extract from Wikipedia article on Christianity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity Retrieved 5 June 2009
  9. 9. Extract from Wikipedia article on Christianity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity Retrieved 5 June 2009
  10. 10. Adherents.com’s figures http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html Retrieved 6 June 2008
  11. 11. Adherents.com’s figures http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html Retrieved 6 June 2008
  12. 12. How many Christians are there in the world today? • The Wikipedia article has notes which show where the figures were taken from – A key source is Adherents.com – So these two sites shouldn’t be cited as independent sources of the same figure
  13. 13. How many Christians are there in the world today? • Figures may vary because of different methods of calculation – but websites rarely give full information about this • Some figures may be more up to date than others • Another Adherents.com page gives a wide range of possible figures
  14. 14. How many Christians are there in the world today? • The answer will also vary depending on the definition of ‘Christian’ used – ReligiousTolerance.org lists a number of possible criteria – An article from the Christian Century notes a wide disparity between those self-identifying as Christian and those who go to church
  15. 15. Extract from ReligiousTolerance.org http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn.htm Retrieved 8 August 2008
  16. 16. Extract from a Christian Century article on FindArticles.com http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_5_120/ai_98754720 Retrieved 8 August 2008
  17. 17. Extract from a Christian Century article on FindArticles.com http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_5_120/ai_98754720 Retrieved 8 August 2008
  18. 18. Summary - key things to note • Answers may vary because of – Variations in precision – Different calculation methods – Variations in how recently the information was gathered • Important terms need to be defined
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. 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?
  22. 22. 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?
  23. 23. 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.)
  24. 24. 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?
  25. 25. 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/

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