Critical Thinking

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Critical Thinking Wiki for Dr. Alfino's students

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Fall 2007

Knowledge, Perspective, Inquiry Assignments

This semester we're piloting two new assignments on Knowledge aquisition and Perspective/Bias to prepare students for their research assignment.

Knowledge Aquisition Assignment (aka Wikipedia Assignment)

Media:Wikipediaassignmentv2.doc the worksheet for the Wikipedia assignment on knowledge aquisition.

Perspective Assignment (aka 1st Argument Analysis Paper)

An indispensible skill for a critical thinker is the ability to understand the range of positions and points of view on an issue and to be familiar with the theoretical and practical points of view of major sources of thought and opinion. This skill helps us understand when we have seen a full range of positions and when we have likely been exposed to evidence and argumentation contrary to our own sympathies.
The goal of this assignment is for you to write an argument reflecting your own view of topic assigned during the POV library instruction. You should develop your view in light of your survey of thought and opinion about income inequality.
Step 1: Review research skills from John Spencer's presentation on Journals of Thought and Opinion
Use this handout to determine the point of view or position of popular magazines and news magazines. Most of the popular periodicals have an editorial stance which may be liberal, conservative or mainstream, depending upon the publication's writers and editors. You should also attempt to follow leads into academic literature. Sometimes you can guess the point of view you suspect is out there and use search terms to find it. Be creative in your search strategies. Use a range of search resources, from Wiki to Google to Academic Search Premier, and beyond! Soon you'll be rummaging around in the Philosophers Index.
Step 2: Conduct research related to the issues in your topic. Find a variety of sources discussing the main question(s) in your topic and post findings to the collaborative research page for this assignment. See the wiki page for information about how to post findings.
Step 3: Read findings posted to the collaborative research page for your topic during the coming week and formulate your own view as you read various articles.
Step 4: In a 3-4 page paper, present your own rationales for your position on the topic. Which points of view did you find most persuasive and why? Select specific issues to address based on your reflection and reading.

Inquiry Assignment (aka the Research Project)

More instructions will be posted soon. Right now, focus on collecting research and posting it to the wiki in an efficient form. We'll use a quick critical look at the Collaborative Research Page to get some ideas on how to post information to the wiki for your semester projects.
  • Questionaire. Use this questionaire to assess the progress of your research.

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