Critical Reasoning Papers
Critical reasoning papers must be written for Units II through VII. No paper is required for the first Unit. In the papers you must apply the critical thinking skills discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook to articles taken from various magazines.
Papers are based on articles selected from the book, Annual Editions: Psychology, edited by Eric Landrum. For each course unit, one article has been assigned. You must read the article and write a critical evaluation of it. You should follow the format given below.
The papers must be one-and-a-half to two pages, single-spaced. They must be typed using a 12 size, Times New Roman font. Please make sure that you note the dates when papers are due.
Your paper must consist of five paragraphs and must answer as completely as possible each of the following questions. Some of the questions require you to think carefully about the article, or review relevant material in the textbook. If you are not sure what you are expected to do, please consult your teaching assistant. You can also find additional information on the course website.
Include your name, section number, and date at the top of the paper. Include the Unit number and the title of the article that you have reviewed. You must format it as five paragraphs and refer to the guidelines given below.
- What is the main point made by the author? After reading the article, what do you think the author believes about the topic? Summarize the main point in two or three sentences. In some cases the author describes another person’s argument. Be sure, then, to make clear whether the author is stating his or her own opinion, or describing the opinions of other people. Then, explain how the author supports his or her main point? Briefly summarize the information presented by the author. Provide some specific details. Explain how this information is used to support the author’s point of view. Describe what the author has to say, but do not comment on the arguments at this point.
- What are the strong features of the author’s arguments? Again, consider what you have learned about the requirements for good scientific research: Are the arguments supported by solid research data? Does the research appear to have been conducted properly? If yes, explain why you think the research was well done. Does the author provide information about more than one side of the issue? What are the weak features of the author’s arguments? Consider the following possibilities: Is the argument based on personal anecdotes? Does it rely on isolated case studies? Is the research that the author refers to adequate? Are the research data misinterpreted? Use what you have learned about research in the course. For example, does the author try to infer a causal connection from correlational data? Does the absence of control groups make comparisons impossible? Are there other possible interpretations for the evidence that are not recognized by the author? Does the author make unsubstantiated claims or assumptions that are not based on any evidence at all? Are other explanations or points of view ignored by the author?3. What have you learned in the course that supports arguments made by the author? Describe what you have learned, not just your own opinion. Cite page numbers in the textbook. You should look first at the chapters assigned for the same unit as the paper, but the information can come from anywhere in the book. The more relevant information you can find, the stronger will be your paper. “I could find nothing” is not an acceptable response to this question. There is always some information that is relevant. What have you learned in the course that goes against arguments made by the author? Try to think of at least one thing. Cite relevant pages in the textbook.
4a. How would you apply what you have learnt from this article to national or global current events? Select a concept(s) from the article and connect it to or relate it to events happening in the world today. These events could be something you have heard on the radio, seen on television, read in a newspaper/newsmagazine, or read online. Make sure you clearly describe the event and then explain the connection you see between the event and the concept(s). (For example, if the article dealt with the issue of bullying and you read a news article about bullying at a high school in Michigan or in another country like Germany, you could write about that).
4b. Think deeply about the article and then give your personal opinion/personal reaction to the issue being discussed. Why do you think it happens? (For example, if the article dealt with the issue of bullying, you would give your opinion about why you think someone bullies others). Then you must support your personal opinion with your own arguments. In doing so, please do not reveal anything that is confidential.
- Think deeply about your own experience with writing this paper. a. If it is the first paper that you are writing, describe what was easy or difficult for you in
writing your paper. Which sections were more or less easy to write? Why? How would you describe your experience with writing papers prior to this first paper? Do you think you have sufficient preparation? Support your answer with an example or two.
- If it is beyond the first paper, describe how you have addressed the feedback you received on your previous paper? What were some areas of growth that were identified by your Teaching Assistant (example, grammar, spelling, punctuation, not responding to all aspects of the paragraph, current event)? How did you incorporate the feedback you received towards improving your current paper?
You may include short phrases from the textbook or from the article itself, but any such phrases must be placed in quotation marks, and their origin clearly identified.
You must write or print a draft of your paper and review it carefully to make sure that the writing is clear and that your arguments are sound. Good writing style and correct grammar are important.
How to Turn In the Paper
- The paper must be typed.
- The paper must follow the correct format and consist of five clear paragraphs.
- The paper must be one-and-a-half to two pages, single-spaced. It must be typed using a 12 size, Times New Roman font.
- The paper must deal with the article assigned for the relevant unit.
If these rules have been followed, points will be assigned according to the following criteria, which are based on the overall objectives for the course.
Paragraphs Criterion Points
Can you describe accurately the main point made by the author?
Can you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s arguments?
Can you apply concepts from the course to the article?
Can you relate the article to events happening in today’s world?
Can you think deeply about the issue and offer a critical personal opinion?
Can you reflect on your own experience with the writing process?