Writing From Sources Notes
Chapter 1: “Understanding Evidence and Reasoning” to Exercise 6 (p. 40-62) 1) The credibility of the thesis depends on the evidence and reasoning. a) Evidence refers to any kind of concrete information that can support a thesis. Evidence can take several forms: i) Facts and statistics, especially in social science. ii) Surveys
(1) Depend on generalizing from a representative sample, based on an appropriate “population” (use limited evidence to predict opinions of a much larger group by assuming the opinions of a smaller group reflect proportionately to the opinions of the larger) iii) Examples- a single representative instance that serves to support a thesis. iv) Anecdotes- stories- extended examples with a beginning, middle, and end- that illustrate the point the author wants to make. (2) Attract and interest the reader, but do not prove a thesis. v) Appeal to authority- authors often support their thesis by referring to their own work or work of other acknowledged authorities. (3) Data and examples are more credible when endorsed by sources with a reputation as experts in the field. (4) Should provide reasonable detail in these cases, and, if possible, convey the strength of the source’s credentials. 2) Questions to ask when looking for evidence:
b) Does the author use facts and/or statistics to support the thesis? If so, do they seem reliable? c) Does the author use examples and anecdotes? If so, are they the main or only evidence for the thesis? d) Are the sources for the evidence acknowledged?
e) Do these sources seem credible?
f) Are there some points that aren’t supported by evidence? g) Does the author seem biased?
h) Based on the evidence provided, do you accept the author’s thesis? 3) Implications
i) Explicit statements within a piece also include indirect implications. 4) Inferences
j) Also acceptable to draw a conclusion that isn’t implicit in the source, as long as the conclusion is reached through reasoning based on sound evidence. k) To infer means to form a probable conclusion from a statement by reasoning. Unlike implication, inference requires the analysis of information. Inferences draw on one’s own knowledge of the subject or experience of life. l) The text implies; the reader infers.
m) Inferences require that the source be cited and documented 5) Unsupported inferences
n) It is possible to push inferences too far and end up with an assertion for which there is no basis in the source. 6) Differentiating among statement, inference, and implication o) Statement- the information is provided in the text even though the wording may be different. p) Implication- the text suggests an idea that is not directly stated in the source. q) Inference- through reasoning, the reader can form a probable conclusion that is not implicit in the text. 7) Using Logical Reasoning
r) The structure of most texts used in research consists of a logical progression of general points that lead to an overall thesis or conclusion; each point may be followed by more concrete statements of supporting evidence. The sequence of general points is determined by logical reasoning. s) Two types of reasoning- deductive and inductive
8) Deductive Reasoning
t) Deduction means reasoning from general statements to form a logical conclusion. u) The classic form for deductive reasoning is syllogism, which consists of a series of carefully limited statements, or premises, pursued to a subscribed conclusion. vi) The opening statement of a syllogism is usually a statement that the reader will be willing to accept as true without explicit proof. vii) Deductive reasoning follows an almost mathematical rigor; provided the premises are accepted as true...
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