Uncritical Thinkers Pretend to know more than they do. Get annoyed by problems. Are impatient. Judge on first impressions and intuition. Focus on their own opinions. Look only for ideas like their own. Are guided by feelings rather than thoughts. Claim that thinking gives them a headache. Don’t think about it, just sign it!
Critical Thinking: A Skill to Carry You Through Life Professors and future employers value your ability to perform these critical thinking skills: Manage and interpret information Examine exciting ideas and develop new ones Pose logical and cogent arguments Recognize reliable evidence Be proactive rather than reactive Think things through in depth. Always be reasonable
What is critical thinking? Commonly called “problem solving” Not being content with the first solution to a problem, but thinking more deeply about it. Knowing, understanding, analyzing, synthesis, applying and evaluating the idea or problem Looking for what is implied in a question rather than what is stated Applying the rules of logic to problem solving Not letting reason be clouded by emotion
Four Aspects of Critical Thinking Abstract Thinking: thinking past what your senses tell you Creative Thinking: thinking “out of the box,” innovating Systematic Thinking: organizing your thoughts into logical steps Communicative Thinking: being precise in giving your ideas to others.
Critical Thinking: What is involved? Question: what is being asked? Purpose: why do I want the answer? Point of View: where do I stand to look at the question? Information: what data do I have? Concepts: what ideas are involved? Assumptions: what am I taking for granted? Inferences: what conclusions am I drawing? Consequences: what are the implications of my question?
Critical Thinkers Acknowledge personal limitations See problems as exciting challenges Have understanding as a goal Use evidence to make judgments Are interested in others’ ideas Are skeptical of extreme views Think before acting Avoid emotionalism Keep an open mind
A Thinker’s Lexicon A personal view or belief Opinion An inference that is believed to be true Assumption A set of claims to support an assertion Argument A truth that cannot be disputed Fact To assert as a fact whether it is or not Claim Truthful, well-founded Validity Logical and believable, credible Plausible A judgment based on evidence Inference
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning Inductive Reasoning Specific Reasoning Broad Principles Example: My history All college courses class requires a lot of have a lot of reading reading Deductive Reasoning BroadSpecific GeneralizationsConclusions Example: All collegeMy art history course courses are hardwill be hard
The IDEAL Method I dentify the problem D efine the problem E xplore alternative approaches A ct on the best strategies L ook back to evaluate the effects Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s IDEAL!
Ask Questions One quality of a good critical thinker is the ability to ask on- target questions If you don’t usually ask questions, is it because you Fear embarrassment? Worry what others will think of you? Worry that the instructor will think your question is strange? Worry that others will think you’re showing off? When you don’t ask questions, you sacrifice your education. If you don’t take risks, you won’t get the maximum benefit in developing your mind. Yes! Ask me!
Make the Right Inferences You are constantly making inferences Inferences are interpretations that you derive from processing cues in a situation A plausible inference is a judgment that is logical, and possibly accurate Sometimes inferences become assumptions— something we believe to be true and act on as though it were Inferences can be tricky. It is easy to be wrong and you may operate on faulty assumptions until you are informed otherwise.
Four Common Decision Making Problems Snap decisions Don’t jump to conclusions! Narrow thinking Broaden your vistas! Sprawling thinking Don’t beat around the bush! Fuzzy thinking Keep it sharp! Keep it relevant!
What is a Claim? A claim is a statement which can be either true or false, but not both. A claim is an assertion you want to have accepted as a fact and not be disputed. When evaluating a claim, you have three choices: accept the claim reject the claim suspend judgment until you have more information What is an Argument? An argument is a set of claims. Arguments begin with premises and lead to a conclusion A good argument is one in which the premises lead logically to a strong or valid conclusion. I’m stakin’ a claim!
Form Strong Arguments Be sure the conclusion follows logically from the premises Leave out faulty or dubious premises Use precise language to pinpoint your claim Avoid making claims you can’t prove This is a perfectly logical argument (called a syllogism.) It only has one small problem: NASA hasn’t found any green men on Mars.
Know Your Own Biases Everyone has strong preferences and prejudices that may prevent us from evaluating arguments fairly Acknowledging these can increase the likelihood of coming up with more effective arguments Good reasoning guards against their own “soft spots” to increase their objectivity. Be honest with yourself: “Am I opinionated?
Refine Your Reasoning Be willing to argue Use deductive reasoning Check your assumptions Know your own biases Observe carefully Stay positive and persistent Show concern for accuracy Take time before concluding
Finding Empirical Sources Literature Review
The literature review process Source: Saunders et al. (2003) Figure 3.1 The literature review process
Stages Define the problem/area you are working on Narrow down your literature search Focus your review Carry out a literature search Evaluate the materials Analyse the findings: Emerging themes? Big picture? Major similarities/differences among authors/trends/theories? Emerging significant questions? Any research questions for further research? Write-up literature review
LR Tracking Sheet Literature Review Tracking Sheet Paper # & Title Date of Publication Important PointsMethodTechnique/ToolsSampleFindingsReference Topic/Area 1 Title 1 Title 2 Title 3... Title n Topic/Area 2 Title 1 Title 2 Title 3... Title n
Some basic do's and don'ts A literature review should never be just a list, as in the example below:
"Until recently many researchers have shown interest in the field of coastal erosion and the Resulting beach profiles. They have carried out numerous laboratory experiments and field observations to illuminate the darkness of this field. Their findings and suggestions are reviewed here. JACHOWSKI (1964) developed a model investigation conducted on the interlocking precast Concrete block seawall. After a result of a survey of damages caused by the severe storm at the coast of USA, a new and especially shaped concrete block was developed for use in shore protection. This block was designed to be used in a revetment type seawall that would be both durable and economical as well as reduce wave run-up and overtopping, and scour at its base or toe. It was proved that effective shore protection could be designed utilizing these units. HOM-MA and HORIKAWA (1964) studied waves forces acting on the seawall which was located Inside the surf zone. On the basis of the experimental results conducted to measure waves forces against a vertical wall, the authors proposed an empirical formula of wave pressure distribution on a seawall. The computed results obtained by using the above formula were compared well with the field data of wave pressure on a vertical wall. SELEZOV and ZHELEZNYAK (1965) conducted experiments on scour of sea bottom in front of Harbor seawalls, basing on the theoretical investigation of solitary wave interaction with a vertical wall using Boussinesque type equation. It showed that the numerical results were in reasonable agreement with laboratory experimental data."
Adopting a critical perspective (1) Skills for effective reading Previewing which is looking around the text before you start reading in order to establish precisely its purpose and how it may inform you literature search Annotating that is conducting a dialogue with yourself, the author and the issues and the ideas at stake Summarising the best way to determine that you’ve really got the point is to be able to state it in your words. Outlining the argument of text is a version of annotating, and can be done quite informally in the margins of the text Comparing and contrasting: ask your self how you thinking has been altered by this reading or how has it affected your response to the issue and themes your research Harvard College Library (2006)
The key to a critical literature review Demonstrate that you have read, understood and evaluated your material Link the different ideas to form a cohesive and coherent argument Make clear connections to your research objectives and the subsequent empirical material Saunders et al. (2009)
Literature sources available Saunders et al. (2009) Figure 3.2 Literature sources available
Journals Journals are also known as ‘periodical’ ‘serials’ and ‘magazines’ and are published on a regular basis. Journals are a vital literature source for any research. They are well covered by tertiary literature, and good selection can be accessed from most university libraries (printed or online)
Refereed academic Journals Articles in refereed academic journals (such as Journal of management studies)are evaluated by peers academic prior to publication, to assess their quality and suitability, they are usually written by experts in the field. There will be usually be detailed footnotes, an extensive bibliography, rigorous attention to detail and verification of information. Such articles are written for a more narrow audience of scholars with a particular interest in the field. The language used may be technical or highly specialized as a prior knowledge of the topic will be assumed.
Professional Journals Professional Journals (such as People Management) they are produced for their members by organization such as the chartered Institute of personal and development (CIPD). They contain a mix of news related items and articles that are more detailed. However you have to exercise caution
Trade Journals They fulfill a similar function to professional journals. They are published by trade organizations or aimed at particular industries or trades such as carting or mining. Often they focus in new products or services and news items, they rarely contain articles based on empirical research, although some provide summaries of research, You should therefore use these with consideration caution for you research project.
Books Books and monographs are written for specific audiences. Some are aimed at the academic, with a theoretical slant. Others, aimed at practicing professionals, may be more applied in their content. The material in books is usually presented in a more ordered and accessible manner than in journals, polling together a wider range of topics, they are therefore, practically useful as introductory sources to help clarify your research question(s) and objectives or research methods you intend to use. Some academic textbooks such as this one are now supported by web pages providing additional information.
Newspaper Newspaper are good source of topical events, developments within business and government, as well as recent statistical information such as share prices, they also sometimes review recent research report. Again you should be carful when you use newspaper in your research project as newspaper may contain bias in their coverage, be it political geographical or personal. Reporting can also be inaccurate and you may not pick up any subsequent amendments
Reports Reports include market research reports such as those produced by Mintel and keynote government reports and academic reports. It is not easy to get access for these reports as they are not as widely available as books. It is important to try to assess the authority of the author, and to beware of personal bias
Conference proceedings Conference proceedings sometimes referred to as symposia, as often published as unique titles within journals or as books. Most conferences have a theme that is very specific, but some have a wide-range overview. Many conferences have associated web pages providing abstract and occasionally the full papers presented at the conference.
Theses Theses are unique and so far a major research project can be a good source of further references. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to locate and, when found, difficult to access as there may be only one copy at the awarding institution.