How to be a critical reader
How to be a critical reader

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How to be a critical reader

1.7 Using evidence from other sources

Academic writers commonly use opinions and facts from other sources to support their arguments. In the next activity you practise identifying how references to other sources can signal whether a writer is drawing on fact or opinion as support.

Activity 7

Task 1

Examine the nine statements below. Each refers to one or more researchers or writers, and some of the statements give facts, while others give opinions.

For each statement, choose one of the options: ‘Fact’ or ‘Opinion’. Then type the word in the box below which signals that the writer is putting forward either a fact or an opinion to support their argument [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Question 1

Chomsky proposed that language is rule-based.

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Answer

Chomsky proposed that language is rule-based.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is b.

Question 2

Thorndike, Watson and, later, Skinner, Eysenck and others argued that psychology should be scientific in its approach.

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Answer

Thorndike, Watson and, later, Skinner, Eysenck and others argued that psychology should be scientific in its approach.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is b.

Question 3

Greer et al. developed a form of computational model called a ‘connectionist network’.

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Answer

Greer et al. developed a form of computational model called a connectionist network’.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is a.

Question 4

Claude Shannon in 1938 showed how core aspects of reasoning could be implemented in simple electrical circuits.

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Answer

Claude Shannon in 1938 showed how core aspects of reasoning could be implemented in simple electrical circuits.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is a.

Question 5

Brentano believed that mental states comprise mental acts and mental contents.

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Answer

Brentano believed that mental states comprise mental acts and mental contents.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is b.

Question 6

However, research by Mumford and Power (2003) has revealed a strong sense of community spirit and strong social networks in two deprived areas of London, both of which have experienced considerable population change.

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Answer

However, research by Mumford and Power (2003) has revealed a strong sense of community spirit and strong social networks in two deprived areas of London, both of which have experienced considerable population change.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is a.

Question 7

Raymond Gibbs has carried out several experiments designed to tap into people’s metaphorical understanding of words and phrases.

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Answer

Raymond Gibbs has carried out several experiments designed to tap into people’s metaphorical understanding of words and phrases.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is a.

Question 8

Milgate (1990) uses Conversation Analysis to explore interaction in the language classroom.

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Answer

Milgate (1990) uses Conversation Analysis to explore interaction in the language classroom.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is a.

Question 9

Hurst (2006) suggests that mind maps are a useful way of representing grammatical structures visually.

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Answer

Hurst (2006) suggests that mind maps are a useful way of representing grammatical structures visually.

a. 

Fact


b. 

Opinion


The correct answer is b.

Comment

When writers use evidence to support their opinions or claims, this evidence needs to be based on the research or opinions of other writers.

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