Critical Thinking: Evaluation

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Critical Evaluation of an Academic Source
Odetta Rodriguez
Capella University

Critical Evaluation of an Academic Source
This paper is a summary of critical evaluation of the suitability of an article as an academic source. The title of the article is Critical Thinking: An Extended Definition. The author, Professor Ken Petress, analyzes various definitions of critical thinking and provides his definition of the concept as well. It is vitally important when performing research on a topic that we completely understand the topic and that we can apply certain tests or questions to the topic in order to determine its relevance and validity. Checklist for Critical Evaluation

The following checklist is used to evaluate the scholarly merit of the article. The checklist is based on a model developed by the Foundation for Critical Thinking (as cited in Capella University, n.d.) as well as some additional information.

Peer Review
Is the article peer reviewed? Is the article primary, secondary, or tertiary? This article has been peer reviewed as it is located in the ProQuest Education Journal Database at Capella University. It is secondary because it is a literature review of various authors’ definitions of critical thinking. Petress (2004) states that, “This article offers for thought and debate a brief literature review related to critical thinking. This review will be assembled by combining other sources' definitions into this article” (p. 1). Main Issue

What is the main issue or problem the author is focusing on in this article? In this article the author is focusing on not simply the different definitions of critical thinking, but the problems he has with some of the definitions. While Paul and Elder repeatedly emphasize asking quality questions, they fail to specify what kind of questions to raise (Petress, 2004). This is one example of how Petress applies a critical analysis of one of the sources he uses. Significance of the Issue

Discuss the significance of the issue which is the focus of the article. Why is it important? On what do you base your assertions regarding its significance? The significance of the issue is of great magnitude in that it stresses to the reader the importance of not simply taking one or two sources or definitions to be fact. Instead it proves that various sources are needed to come to a fair an honest conclusion of how to interpret a concept. Having completed research projects in the past, I understand how daunting it can be to be inundated with multiple sources on one subject. However, I have found that this work although time consuming, is necessary to form a clear understanding of the subject matter. Petress shows the reader how to analyze definitions of concepts which is a necessary skill in the field of research. Author’s Purpose

What is the author’s main purpose(s) in writing the article? The author’s main purpose in writing this article is to show that there are many definitions of critical thinking. Petress (2004) states that, “It is hoped that this resource might be helpful to scholars in better understanding others' use of the term; to better allow speakers, listeners, readers, and writers to better use this pervasive term in academic literature. This work is not intended to be an end point in the discussion of critical thinking; it is meant to be a rejuvenating and motivating stimulus for further discussion of the subject” (p. 6). Author’s Point of View

What is the author’s point of view? Petress (2004) explains that, “This work, while produced for the education domain, is nevertheless easily transferable to most other fields. This taxonomy emphasizes more what we do with our knowledge than examining the quality or nature of what we know. Combining this taxonomical approach with any one or few other earlier discussed approaches makes a useful compendium of critical thinking activity” (p. 3). This...
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