Asking the Right Questions 6/e -- Ch 1 notes

The Benefit of Asking the Right Questions


How will you react to what you see and hear?
  1. Accept passively?
  2. Asking questions of yourself in an effort to reach a personal decision about the worth of what you have experienced?

Critical Thinking to the Rescue

Critical Thinking

Questions are helpful when you are asked to:

  1. react critically to an essay or to evidence presented in a textbook,
  2. judge the quality of a lecture or speech,
  3. form an argument,
  4. write an essay based on a reading assignment, or
  5. participate in class.

The Sponge and Panning for Gold: Alternative Thinking Styles

Sponge approach -- absorbing

  • disadvantages

Panning-for-gold approach


The two approaches complement each other. To evaluate arguments we must possess knowledge.

An Example of the Panning-For-Gold Approach

Panning for Gold: Asking Critical Questions

You must be an active searcher -- ask questions.

Advantage: permits you to ask searching questions even when you know very little about the topic being discussed.

The Myth of the "Right Answer"

physical sciences -

social sciences -

Thinking and Feeling


Efficiency of Asking the Question, "Who Cares?"

Some controversies will be much more important to you than others.

Your time is valuable -- ask "Who Cares?"

Weak-sense and Strong-sense Critical Thinking

weak-sense -
purpose -

strong-sense -

purpose -

Strong-sense critical thinking does not necessarily force us to give up our initial beliefs.

The Satisfaction of Using the Panning-for Gold Approach




Trying Out New Answers

Search for better answers.

Effective Communication and Critical Thinking

-- will improve the quality of your writing and speaking

The Importance of Practice

You cannot learn simply by being told what to do or by watching others. You have to practice.


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Updated 4.2.01