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© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Chapter 4: Evaluating the Authors Message Academic Reading, Fifth Edition by Kathleen T. McWhorter
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Learning Objectives: To make inferences and understand implied meanings To assess an authors credentials To distinguish between fact and opinion To identify the authors purpose To evaluate the data and evidence To analyze the authors tone To annotate as you read To synthesize your ideas
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Making Inferences An inference is a reasoned guess about what you dont know based on what you do know. Authors do not always directly state what they mean. Instead, they may only hint at or suggest an idea.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Making Inferences As Agatha studied Agnes, she noticed that her eyes appeared misty, her lips trembled slightly, and a twisted handkerchief lay in her lap. Inference: Agnes is upset and on the verge of tears.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers How to Make Inferences Understand the literal meaning first. Notice details. –What is unusual or striking about this piece of information? –Why is it included here?
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers How to Make Inferences Add up the facts. –What is the writer trying to suggest from this set of facts? –What do all these facts and ideas seem to point toward or add up to? –Why did the author include these facts and details? Be alert for clues. Look back at the facts to verify your inference.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers How to Make Inferences Consider the authors purpose. –To purchase something? –To convince you of an idea? –To inform? Look back at the facts to verify your inference.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Assess the Authors Ideas Is the author a qualified expert? What are the facts and opinions? What is the authors purpose? Does the author support his or her generalizations? What assumptions is the author making? Is the author biased? How strong are the data and evidence?
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Fact or Opinion? Facts –Birth rates declined from 1960 to –The proportion of married women in the work force has steadily increased in the past 40 years. Opinions –A drastic change is soon to occur in family structure. –Parenthood is the most rewarding human experience.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Is the Author Biased? Pay attention to emotional language. Notice descriptive language. How does the author make you feel? Look for opposing viewpoints. If there are none, it is biased.
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers How Strong Are the Data and Evidence? Personal experience or observation Statistical data Examples, descriptions of events Analogies or comparisons with similar situations Historical documentation Experimental evidence
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers How to React to Ideas Presented Annotate as You Read. (p. 103) Analyze and Evaluate Ideas –What did the author intend to accomplish? –How effectively did he or she accomplish it? –What questions does the work answer? –What questions are ignored or left unanswered? –What contributions to course content is made? –How does this work fit with your textbook? –What are strengths and weaknesses of material?
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Synthesize and Compare Sources Compare for: –overall theme or position –types and quality of supporting evidence –degree of bias shown in each work –authority of each author –purpose of each author –points of agreement and disagreement –effectiveness of each work to persuade you –style –audience
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Summary Questions How do you make inferences as you read? What questions do you ask to assess an authors ideas? What questions do you ask to react to an authors ideas? What questions do you ask to compare and synthesize several works?
© 2004 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers Read the articles on sociology/contemporary issues and answer the questions at the end of each selection. Why Drug Legalization Should Be Opposed by Charles Rangel Lets Retire the Drug War by Jacob G. Hornberger
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