1.1 How to read critically
Reading critically consists of constantly asking yourself questions.
You may consider your own reactions to the content of the text and its
relevanceto you personally. Analyse the way in which you plan to use the text and ask yourself:
- Do I agree with this viewpoint?
- How does it relate to what I already know?
- Is this text relevant to my needs? Does it help to answer my questions?
You may also wonder how far the content of the text can be trusted, in other words if it is
reliable, and ask:
- Does this text provide facts or opinions?
- If the text contains facts, has any data been obtained from research? How has the data been gathered?
- If the text contains opinions, are these supported with evidence and relevant reasons?
- Is the argument convincing or is it unclear and not completely logical?
The issue of objectivity is also important:
- Could the author be influenced by personal feelings or the context in which he or she writes? In other words, is the author objective?
- Has the author considered other contrasting viewpoints?
- What other perspectives or points of view could there be?
Finally, it is also very important to find out when the text was written:
- When was this information produced?
- Is the data still useful or are more current statistics available?
- Are the theories in the text still valid or have researchers moved on?
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