"The book, Asking the Right Questions, suggests that the right questions are:
- “What are the issues and the conclusions?
- What are the reasons?
- Which words or phrases are ambiguous?
- What are the value conflicts and assumptions?
- What are the descriptive assumptions?
- Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?
- How good is the evidence?
- Are there rival causes?
- Are the statistics deceptive?
- What significant information is omitted?
- What reasonable conclusions are possible?” (Browne and Keeley, 2007, p.13)"
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)?
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One difference between the two--Asking the Right Questions and The Elements of Thought--that seems apparent is that the first list calls for an analysis of a work's value and veracity, whereas the second asks for identification of elements in a work such as its purpose and suppositions and point of view, not whether these elements are valid.
One of the first steps in the critical thinking process has to be determining exactly what it is you need to do - why you are engaging in a critical thought process and what you hope to accomplish by doing so. The purpose of the exercise and the outcome you need to develop will impact the approach you choose. Every situation will have a different set of conditions and requirements attached to it - there is no one approach that is "better" in all cases.
I think adopting one approach to criticial thinking is always going to be problematic, as it is always important to remain flexible and not be dogmatic when trying to analyse a particular issue. Having said this, I do think that the two lists you have given us are very full in terms of the kind of questions we should be asing. One difference is that the elements of thought emphasise the point of view of the article you are analysing. This is something that is important to remember.
Is there any way that you can give us a list of the "elements of thought" similar to the list of the "right questions" you have provided above? If you are able to do so, we will be in a better position to help you. Thanks!
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
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