Critical Evaluation Of Scientific Articles

what it isn't:  critical thinking is not necessarily being “critical” and negative.  In fact, a more accurate term would be evaluative thinking.  The result of evaluation can range from positive to negative, from acceptance to rejection or anything in-between.  Yes, critical evaluation can produce a glowing recommendation.  On this page, for example, the quotes and links — which are recommended, but (as with all sources of information) should be used with an attitude of "critical thinking" evaluation — are the result of my own critical thinking. Here are two brief definitions of what it is:  Critical thinking is "reasonably and reflectively deciding what to believe or do." ...  Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments.  Basically, it is using criteria to judge the quality of something, from cooking to a conclusion of a research paper.  In essence, critical thinking is a disciplined manner of thought that a person uses to assess the validity of something:  of a statement, news story, argument, research, etc.   {quoting Robert Ennis, and paraphrasing Barry Beyer}   creative Generation of Ideas is combined with critical Evaluation of Ideas.  Although creativity occurs first in a process of productive thinking, it's best to begin with a solid foundation of critical thinking.  Why?  Because wise evaluation, in critical thinking, can prevent “creativity plus enthusiasm” from converting questionable ideas into unwise action.   A page that is brief yet rich in ideas, and is worth reading carefully, is Defining Critical Thinking by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul.  You can read Our Concept of Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Community which offers a comprehensive Library of Articles for you to explore.   Characteristics of Critical Thinkers For a quick overview, read Characteristics of Critical Thinking which begins with "What is Critical Thinking?" and continues with: Characteristics of Critical Thinking, Why teach Critical Thinking?, and Teaching Strategies to help promote Critical Thinking Skills. Linda Elder and Richard Paul describe Valuable Intellectual Traits (Intellectual Humility, Courage, Empathy, Integrity, Perseverance, Faith In Reason, and Fairmindedness) and Universal Intellectual Standards (Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breadth, and Logic).  {classroom posters} For a more comprehensive overview, use their 35 Dimensions of Critical Thought as a launching pad to read 35 pages with brief, clear descriptions of Affective Strategies, Cognitive Strategies (Macro-Abilities), and Cognitive Strategies (Micro-Skills).   willing to think and disposition (be willing) and skill (be able) — are described in the pages above, and with more detail in a series of papers by Peter Facione, Noreen Facione, Carol Giancarlo, and Joanne Gainen.  I suggest The Motivation to Think in Working and Learning and Professional Judgment and the Disposition Toward Critical Thinking — or you can read the abstracts to see what looks interesting.   Why should we teach Critical Thinking? As explained in the pages above, critical thinking is essential for effective functioning in the modern world. In an essay that "takes a Socratic approach to defining critical thinking and identifying its value in one's personal, professional, educational, and civic life,"Peter Facione discusses “what and why” in Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts and concludes with a consensus statement (of experts in the field) about critical thinking and the ideal critical thinker: "We understand critical thinking to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based.  [Since this includes almost all types of logical reasoning,] CT is essential as a tool of inquiry.  As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one's personal and civic life.  While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon.  The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.  Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal.  It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society."  {"Delphi Report" consensus statement, The Executive Summary for Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction,Executive Summary & Expert Consensus with links for MORE } Education in critical thinking offers an alternative to a drift toward postmodern relativism, by emphasizing that we can "distinguish between facts and opinions or personal feelings, judgments and inferences, inductive and deductive arguments, and the objective and subjective." {MCC General Education Initiatives}  Critical thinking encourages us to recognize that our "rationally justifiable confidence" in a claim can span a wide range, from feelings to fact and everything in between.  Three Categories of Questions explains why, because students don't recognize questions involving "reasoned judgment" (which are neither fact nor opinion), they "fail to see the difference between offering legitimate reasons and evidence in support of a view and simply asserting the view as true."  You can see samples from The Art of Asking Essential Questions.   LEARNING Critical Thinking (outside school)  —  Educating Yourself You can use online tutorials of Critical Thinking Web (sitemap) about Logic, Fallacy, Argument Analysis, Venn Diagrams, Scientific Reasoning, and much more.     { This website was developed – by Joe Lau & Jonathan Chan – for college students and teachers, but with suitable adjustments it's also useful for K-12 because logic is logic, for the young and old.   Basic Principles of Critical Thinking from Scheffer & Rubenfeld. The essence of critical thinking is logic, and logical evaluation — by using reality checks and quality checks — is the essence of Design Process and Science Process.  On the other end of the logic spectum, we see a variety of logical fallacies that include circular reasoning and strawman arguments. == I.O.U. - In the future, I will search for other websites, including some designed for younger students with logical principles taught in ways that make learning simple and fun.   Activities & Strategies Thinking is encouraged by a creative use of Thinking Activities, such as Aesop's Activities or Socratic Teaching (Six Types of Socratic Questions) and other teaching tactics that encourage active learning.     {* I.O.U. - Eventually there will be more about "thinking activities";  although most principles of critical thinking are useful for teachers & students at all levels, instructional activities should be customized for students with different ages, experiences, and abilities.} Dany Adams explains how, "because the scientific method is a formalization of critical thinking, it can be used as a simple model that removes critical thinking from the realm of the intuitive and puts it at the center of a straightforward, easily implemented, teaching strategy," in Critical Thinking and Scientific Method. ERIChas a wide range of resources, letting you search for research & other information about thinking skills (critical thinking, evaluative thinking, decision making, ...) and much more. Assessment:  It's difficult to evaluate thinking skills.  Accurate evaluation of a thinking skill — or even defining precisely what the "skill" is, and how we can observe and measure it — is much more difficult than evaluating ideas-knowledge.  Some educators have accepted the challenge:  for example, for CommonCore and NextGenerationScienceStandards and by CriticalThinking.org and by InsightAssessment.com (FAQ & sitemap & resources for teaching, measuring, research) with ways to evaluate critical thinking for college students. Critical Thinking on the Web offers links to many interesting, useful resources about critical thinking in a WIDE variety of areas, for teaching more.   critical thinking education in K-12 and higher education.   {research about critical thinking}   Of course, education also occurs outside schools, and most thinking occurs outside the classroom in everyday life and business and other areas of life: "Critical thinking is the art of taking charge of your own mind.  Its value is simple: if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives."  They describe the centrality of thinking, and a common educational problem:     "Critical thinking is not an isolated goal unrelated to other important goals in education.  Rather, it is a seminal goal which, done well, simultaneously facilitates a rainbow of other ends.  It is best conceived, therefore, as the hub around which all other educational ends cluster.  For example, as students learn to think more critically, they become more proficient at historical, scientific, and mathematical thinking.  Finally, they develop skills, abilities, and values crucial to success in everyday life. ...  Recent research suggests that critical thinking is not typically an intrinsic part of instruction at any level.  Students come without training in it, while faculty tend to take it for granted as an automatic by-product of their teaching.  Yet without critical thinking systematically designed into instruction, learning is transitory and superficial."   Peter Facione describes a limitation that occurs with all types of thinking:     A person can be good at critical thinking, meaning that the person can have the appropriate dispositions and be adept at the cognitive processes, while still not being a good (in the moral sense) critical thinker.  For example, a person can be adept at developing arguments and then, unethically, use this skill to mislead and exploit a gullible person, perpetrate a fraud, or deliberately confuse and confound, and frustrate a project.        The experts were faced with an interesting problem.  Some, a minority, would prefer to think that critical thinking, by its very nature, is inconsistent with the kinds of unethical and deliberately counterproductive examples given.  They find it hard to imagine a person who was good at critical thinking not also being good in the broader personal and social sense.  In other words, if a person were "really" a "good critical thinker" in the procedural sense and if the person had all the appropriate dispositions, then the person simply would not do those kinds of exploitive and aggravating things.        The large majority, however, hold the opposite judgment.  They are firm in the view that good critical thinking has nothing to do with... any given set of ethical values or social mores.  The majority of experts maintain that critical thinking conceived of as we have described it above, is, regrettably, not inconsistent with its unethical use.  A tool, an approach to situations, these can go either way, ethically speaking, depending on the character, integrity, and principles of the persons who possess them.  So, in the final analysis the majority of experts maintained that "it is an inappropriate use of the term to deny that someone is engaged in critical thinking on the grounds that one disapproves ethically of what the person is doing.  What critical thinking means, why it is of value, and the ethics of its use are best regarded as three distinct concerns."   { from

Commentaries "Critical Evaluation Of Scientific Articles"

What is a critical source? Sort by
Popular scientific media? ...new research but rather provides a compilation or evaluation of previously presented material. Examples include: •A scientific article summarizing research or data, such as in Scientific...
What does a philosphy course in Critical Thinking Cover? 4 Answers · Education & Reference · 12/07/2012
Do you believe Darwinian Evolution Theory is a sacred dogma, and thus shouldn't be subject to scrutiny? ... for. The author of the article is pointing out the slide into quackery some of these award winners take. In...why you should remember to do your own critical thinking even when you are...
Please Summarize this Article for me. 10 Points Up for Grabs !!? 3 Answers · Society & Culture · 26/12/2012
Church of Scientology ? ...the active assessment and evaluation of statements...can range from political to scientific to everyday claims..., a good critical thinking course... in this online article: http://www.freeinquiry.com...
Are evolutionists the ones with closed minds? 3 Answers · Education & Reference · 17/07/2007
Do you think products that have aspartime are good for the consumer? ...denial is not the same as critical thinking, and flat denial...sheeple. Neither one of those are true. ...not a religion - like any other scientific theory, it is subject..., reconsideration, re-evaluation, and criticism. It ...
What are the basic assumptions of Rutherford's model of the atom? 20 Answers · Society & Culture · 15/07/2009
For a report, is literature review comprised of secondary and primary research? ......) in order to increase the reader's understanding of it. A critical analysis is subjective writing because it expresses the writer's opinion or evaluation of a text. Analysis means to break down and study the parts...
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