Comm 210 - Critical Thinking
Review for Final Exam - DYER
CHAPTER 2: CLAIMS
* WHAT IS A CLAIM?
* main thesis or conclusion of a text
* Major conclusion of a piece of writing that the author is trying to persuade you to accept * Not an example, a definition, or a statistic
* A broader issue, addressed at a greater level of abstraction than evidence -------------------------------------------------
AN ARTICLE = Claim + (Evidence + Examples + Reasoning to support the claim) * FINDING CLAIMS: (explicitly or implicitly stated)
for these cue words in a text as they might indicate that the author is about to make a claim: * Therefore,
* In summary,
* I believed that,
* In short,
* The data show that,
* As a result,
* In fact,
…and synonyms of these words.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT YOUR STATEMENT OF THE CLAIM IS ‘FAIR’, THAT YOU HAVE NOT DISTORTED THE AUTHOR’S MEANING.
Claim can be difficult to spot sometimes, here is an example: The statistics estimated that 39% of the software computers were not legally purchased. The claim would be: Pirated merchandise is a big problem for manufacturing firms. The anecdotes and statistics are ONLY evidence to support the claim.
There are two types of claims: uncontested claims and contestable claims.
* UNCONTESTED (UNPROBLEMATIC) CLAIMS: → claims that we accept without challenging them. Examples:
* Claims that are consistent with our own experiences and observations, things that we have actually seen, heard, or touched (e.g.: there is traffic on the roads between 4pm and 6 pm.) Similarly, we accept claims that relate to subjective experiences (e.g.: golf is my favourite sport) (empirical) * Claims which appear to be facts that are independent of interpretation (e.g.: Québec is larger than Nova Scotia). Events that happened are often not questioned (e.g.: when we read a newspaper report of a train accident) (that are “qualitative observation” or just descriptive) * Claims that are already proven by experts
* Technical or mathematical claims
* CONTESTABLE CLAIMS
Contestable claims are the ones that we challenge to question its truth or falsity. WE ARE WORKING WITH THESE TYPES OF CLAIMS. Often this type of claim is not commonly accepted knowledge. Prof Kaufman also mentioned that ALL claims are contestable. However, claims can be worded differently but should still contain the same idea. Our claim should match the Prof’s idea. When stating the author’s claim, we should present it in an accurate and concise manner. (I tend to put too many details when you state a claim, I must be careful)
* Intelligible & fair summary
* Likely locations
LONG VS. SHORT
Claims are often presented in a single sentence when reading a short article. When we can spot the claim, we should paraphrase and summarize in a clear and efficient manner. When reading a long article, claims are not always presented in a single sentence. Therefore we should look for: * List of important concepts
* Series of propositions how these concepts are related
* Concept map
A concept map is a graphical presentation as a diagram or a drawing of the claim. Concept maps are a compact way of summarizing complex material and can help make the claim more memorable.
CHAPTER 3: EVIDENCE
Evidence is to support our claim. It can consist of:
Statistics / Details of past events / Anecdotes / Written accounts / Previously established claims and… Anything that can provide reasoning and support or claim An argument is the combination of a claim and the evidence for it. Cue words to present evidence are:
* As a result
* In the first place
* In the second place
* For example
* In addition
* Given that