3 -2 t4-chapter_three_powerpoint_w_teays

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3 -2 t4-chapter_three_powerpoint_w_teays

  1. 1. Chapter Three <br />Analysis: The Heart of Critical Thinking<br />Wanda Teays <br />Second Thoughts,4thd ed.<br />McGraw-Hill Higher Ed.<br />.<br />© Teay2009. Wanda s. All reserved<br />
  2. 2. Well-reasoned arguments<br /> Arguments should have sufficient evidence to support the conclusion.<br />A well-structured argument has the supporting claims organized so we see how the evidence fits together to lead to the conclusion.<br />Arguments appear in all sorts of places—from textbooks and newspapers to movies and advertising, from discussions with the family over dinner to debates between presidential candidates<br />We can use our critical reasoning skills to dismantle an argument—e.g., in an article<br />
  3. 3. Key Points In Analyzing An Article<br /> Overview:<br />Subject/Territory: What is the focus of this piece? What is it about—what’s the general topic? What is the context for exploring the ideas or issues?<br />Thesis:Is the author arguing a particular position? What point is the author trying to make?<br />Approach: How much is directed to the central idea versus side issues or tangents? How is the argument structured?<br />The Argument or Body of the Article:<br />Key Claims: What are the main ideas or key points offered as evidence? This is the strongest support for the conclusion.<br />Fine Details: What examples, statistics, or other pieces of support are given to back up the key evidence or premises? Do the fine details help develop the central idea or vision?<br />
  4. 4. Evaluation<br />Quality of Support:Does the evidence work in part or in its entirety to support the thesis? Is the thesis/conclusion well supported by the evidence?<br />Clarity: Is the presentation clear and to the point? Any evidence of bias or loaded language?<br />Overall Impression:What is the overall impression? <br />Is the case convincingly made? If not, what’s missing, questionable, or off-track? If the article is expository rather than argumentative, was it informative or helpful?  <br />
  5. 5. Types of Evidence<br />Central to an analysis is assessing evidence. We need to examine the premises to see how well they support the conclusion. There are different types of evidence.<br />These include claims of fact, testimony, statistical evidence, universal vs. particular claims, credible sources, value claims, <br />For the argument to be strong the premises need to provide sufficient support for the conclusion and, so, each piece of evidence should be scrutinized. <br />
  6. 6. Types of Evidence<br />Facts and Factual ClaimsResting a case on a set of facts is certainly desirable—so long as the facts directly support thesis. If a claim of fact were assumed to be false it would conflict with evidence known to be true. Facts and factual claims do not permit a rival conclusion<br />Testimonycan take a variety of forms ranging from confessional, personal anecdotes, product endorsements, eyewitness testimony, to expert testimony. <br />Statistical Evidencecan be very effective, particularly when the data and studies are current. Besides the date of the study, the key concerns in assessing statistical studies are the size, diversity, and date of the study. The sample size should be adequate and have sufficient diversity.<br />
  7. 7. Types of evidence con.<br /> Universal vs. Particular Claims Be attentive to the scope of a claim—what the claim is meant to cover. If it is a universal claim (all or nothing), it has greater scope. If it is a particular claim (some/some are not), the scope is more limited.<br />Credible Sources can sway, if not carry, an argument. A credible source can be an individual (e.g., an expert) or a government agency (e.g., the Center for Disease Control) or text. The information provided is viewed as factually correct or highly likely (as in an expert opinion). <br />Analogies and Precedents An analogy is a comparison asserting that something true of one of the terms of the comparison will, therefore, be true of the second term. This rests on the strength of the similarities outweighing the differences between the terms of the analogy. <br />
  8. 8. Types of Evidence<br />Cause and Effect Reasoning occurs when someone asserts that something either causes or is an effect of something else. A causal claim may have merit, but it is crucial that alternative causes be dismissed first. <br />Hypotheses/Hypothetical Claims Evidence may be expressed as a hypothetical or conditional claim—an “If/then” claim. <br />Circumstantial Evidence This occurs when we have no hard evidence one way or the other, but the evidence points to the one conclusion. Circumstantial evidence works together in support of a particular conclusion that, in the absence of any reasonable alternative, seems highly likely<br />Value Claims assert a moral judgment, as with “No animal should be eaten for dinner” or “Some animals should have the same moral status as humans.” The speaker may believe the claim to be true—but you can generally only ASSUME it true and see what follows in an argument—but ordinarily a value claim is not on the level of a factual claim (as the truth-value is debatable).<br />
  9. 9. Checklist for Weighing Evidence<br /> <br />Scope Universal Claims “All A is B” or “No A is B” are stronger than the particular claims “Some A is B” or “Some A is not B.”<br />RelevanceClaims Pertinent to the topic (focused on the issue) are stronger than general observations or vague “truisms.” Set the background information concerning the context to the side, unless it is necessary to make the argument.<br />SupportExamine the evidence to assess the quality of support and its role in the argument. Does any of the evidence independently support the conclusion? Are all the premises needed to make the case? Are any extraneous, unnecessary? Use of credible sources, properly documented, is stronger than speculation.<br />
  10. 10. Checklist for Weighing Evidence con.<br />Testimony Watch for the credibility of those giving testimony. Look out for conflicts of interest, poor grasp of relevant information, weak observation skills, emotional problems, or inattention to details that could affect credibility.<br />Facts Stack Up Relevance is the key here: The more indispensable a fact is to the case, the more weight it should have. Valuable facts may seal the case.<br />Circumstantial EvidenceKey here is that there’s no reasonable alternative explanation.Ask if a rival conclusion is feasible.<br />Statistical Claims Be attentive to:<br />Date of study.<br />Size of study.<br />Diversity in terms of relevant variables or factors so the study is representative of the target population. <br />
  11. 11. Checklist con.<br />Conditional Claims Watch for “if… then” constructions (If P then Q).<br />(Hypotheticals) Can we determine if the antecedent condition, P, is true? Is the consequent, Q, known to be false? Is this one link in a chain of conditional sentences?<br />Value Claims What is the impact of the claim? Who holds it? What are the consequences of not believing in it? Do ethics or religion play a role? Any evidence of personal bias or prejudice?<br />Analogy orAnalogies offer no certainty, but can be very effective.<br />Precedent Set out the similarities and differences. Similarities must carry more cumulative weight than differences for the analogy (precedent) to hold. Similarities MAKE an analogy. Differences BREAK an analogy.<br />OmissionsWatch for “holes” in the reasoning. Ask if anything has been left out (whether intentionally or unintentionally).<br />
  12. 12. Analysis of an Article or Argument<br />Once we feel comfortable handling evidence, we can tackle all sorts of arguments, great and small.<br />Let’s start first with the title, to see if it sets the stage for any interpretation that may follow. The way things are labeled or titled may shape the way in which they are perceived. For example:<br />If the article is titled “A Grievous Wrong,” and the subject of the article is the death penalty—what do you already know? <br />
  13. 13. Assessing the Verbal MessageWATCH FOR:<br />Characteristics or qualities of the product <br />Consequences of owning the product<br />Benefits of this product over rival products<br />Comments about the lifestyle that goes with the product<br />Use of humor, diversionary tactics, or insults <br />Social commentary that may or may not relate to the product<br />Use of statistics or statistical claims touting the benefits of the product<br />The testimony of ordinary people, so-called experts, or celebrities <br />Use of pseudo-scientific terms to give weight to the ad’s claims<br />Fallacies of reasoning or questionable claims<br />
  14. 14. Structure<br />An analysis of an article involves looking at the way the article is structured, determining the author's position, frame of reference, and method of approach; examining the use of language; and checking for bias.<br />It is important to be on the lookout for bias. <br />There may be bias as shown through the use of language, revealing the values favored by the author.There could be bias in the very way in which evidence is presented (e.g., the author skews the article in favor of one side).<br />It could be that key evidence for one side is missing or distorted, ignoring or underplaying one side. <br />This would then result in an imbalance in terms of a fair representation of both sides.<br />
  15. 15. Basics<br />Centralto an analysis is an examination of the key claims or arguments. <br />Clarify what is being argued (the thesis) and then set out the premises.<br />Then pull out and weigh the evidence. Examine the evidence carefully. We may be headed in the wrong direction if vital pieces of evidence are missing. <br />Similarly, look at any assumptions. What we assume affects how we think and what we think about, so decide if the assumptions are warranted or unwarranted. <br />
  16. 16. Ingredients of a Strong Analysis<br />Statement as to what is being argued or discussed<br />Thesis or focus of the essay or article.<br />Include in your introduction your assessment of the article's persuasiveness.<br />How it is being argued or discussed<br />Key points made and issues raised.<br />Could include how the argument or discussion is structured.<br />Relevant observations about the use of language<br />Note value-laden, biased, or prejudicial language.<br />Watch use of metaphors and connotations of words.<br />Note when use of language is clear, concise, and accessible for the targeted audience. <br />Note degree of clarity in use of language.<br /> <br />
  17. 17. Analysis, con.<br />Set out the STRENGTHS<br />Note arguments that best support the author's thesis.<br />Note valuable points or insights in the expository essay.<br />Point out powerful uses of language, effective use of statistics or credible sources, pertinent examples, and well-supported details.<br />Set out the WEAKNESSES<br />Note any aspects that diminish the quality of the article.<br />Note any contradictions or inconsistencies in the author's reasoning.<br />Point out when statistics are used poorly or are out of date.<br />Note any speculation or unsupported claims.<br />Watch unfounded assumptions, or use of references (witnesses or “experts”) that are not credible<br />
  18. 18. Analysis, con.<br />Assess article for persuasiveness <br />Watch for omissions.<br />See if evidence is strong.<br />Notice if language helps or hinders.<br />Decide if weaknesses are too great.<br />See if the argument is fully developed.<br />See if illustrations and examples back up claims.<br />Watch for questionable assumptions.<br />Assess the cogency of the reasoning.<br />

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