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: />
• Which views are most widespread?
– How significant is this?
• Are there any discernable patterns
in who holds each view?
– Among experts and lay people?
– In the UK and elsewhere in the world?
– Among religious and secular groups?
• How representative do you think the
views you encountered are of wider
– What might make people more or less
likely to express their views publicly?
– What might make them more or less
likely to do so online?
Examining the Sites
• Look at some of the websites again,
– How various views are expressed
– What techniques sites use to promote
– What you find persuasive – and why
• What techniques are used to
promote each view?
– Are arguments given? Do they work?
– Is evidence presented? Is it
– Are appeals to emotion or shock
tactics used? Are these effective?
• Do any of the sites examined
– Evidence of bias or prejudice?
– Ad hominem arguments?
– Sweeping generalisations about
opponents or opposing views?
– Statements you know to be false?
• How does this affect your reaction?
• What do you personally find
persuasive? Why is this?
• Was there anything you found off-
putting, or that had the opposite
effect from that intended by the
• Did anything cause you to question
views you’d held previously?
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