similarities and differences between the elements of thoughts and the right questions"The book, Asking the Right Questions, suggests that the right questions are:   1.“What are the issues and...

similarities and differences between the elements of thoughts and the right questions

"The book, Asking the Right Questions, suggests that the right questions are:


1.“What are the issues and the conclusions?

2.What are the reasons?

3.Which words or phrases are ambiguous?

4.What are the value conflicts and assumptions?

5.What are the descriptive assumptions?

6.Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?

7.How good is the evidence?

8.Are there rival causes?

9.Are the statistics deceptive?

10.What significant information is omitted?

11.What reasonable conclusions are possible?” (Browne and Keeley, 2007, p.13)"


The elements of thoughts are:


1. Purpose: goal, objective


2. Question at issue: problem, issue


3. Information: data, facts, observations, experiences


4. Interpretation and inference: Conclusions, solutions


5. Concepts: theories, definitions, axioms, laws, principles, models


6. Assumptions: presupposition, taking for granted


7. Implications and consequences


8. Point of vue: frame of reference, perspective, orientation


Look at the “elements of thought” and compare them to the “right questions”. What are the similarities and differences? Is one approach ‘better’ than the other or should their positive points be blended one with the other (and if so, which ones)?

6 Answers | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

It seems that the "elements of thought" allow one to focus questions in order to eliminate all things which are not relevant. I cannot really see a way to compare the "right questions" to the "elements of thought." Instead, it looks like one needs to use the "elements of thought" in order to ask the right questions.

Therefore, one would simply use the elements of thought when constructing the proper questions.

pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

These two do not even seem to be in competition with one another.  They seem to be different statements of many of the same ideas.  For example #1 in the "right questions" list seems very similar to #2 in the elements of thought.  #4 and #5 in the "right questions" is also very similar to #6 in the elements of thought.  So these really seem like different ways to state the very same ideas.

vangoghfan's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)

I agree with the two previous responses.  The "right questions" seem to me to be much more focused and specific and clear than the "elements of thought," which seem to be expressed more vaguely. It sounds as if the "elements of thought" are general principles of thinking; it sounds as if the "right questions" are very particular queries.

accessteacher's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #5)

I do think that the "elements of thought" do have some value, though I share my fellow editors' feelings that on the whole they are more vague and unspecified than the "right questions." For example, you might want to think about the way in which the "elements of thought" highlight the dangers of assumptions when drawing conclusions in our critical thinking.

lmetcalf's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #6)

The Right Questions list provides the reader/thinker with a specific series of questions to ask himself as a means to drawing a conclusion. The Elements of Thought list is much more broad and comprehensive about what happens or should be considered when the reader/thinker thinks about a topic, but the list is not a guide for thinking as directly as the first list.

litteacher8's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #7)

My favorite of these is number 9. Misleading statistics are a pet peeve of mine. For some reason people trust numbers. They have been brainwashed into believing that numbers are cold, hard facts and honest in and of themselves. They do not seem to realize how easy it is to make numbers say what you want to support your argument.

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