You will know which technique to use depending on what your goals are; however, I do not believe that the techniques exist in complete isolation. I believe that they both are needed at different times and under different circumstances in order to be an effective and progressive critical thinker.
In my approach to learning and teaching, at first I use the sponge method. I try to read as broadly as possible on a topic to know what is out there. I also want to get a handle on all the major scholarly opinions. It is only after this, do I come to analyze and come to my own conclusions. During this process, I "pan for gold." I look for the most important pieces of evidence to construct an argument that is cogent.
So, the direct answer to your question is that both approaches to data-collection are valid - under different circumstances. If you are trying to gain a general base of knowledge about a topic, "the sponge method" allows you to sort through a great deal of information. When you...
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