Research: Critical Thinking and Argument

Leslie Winkle Nicole Fewins March 15, 2010 Case 3 1) Why is it important for your research investigation that you be critical when reviewing the literature? It is important to be critical when reviewing literature in order to find information that is going to be useful for the argument. Being critical of the information and different pieces of literature that you find is going to be the key to becoming educated on the topic and will help to develop a well rounded understanding of the information. Finding well researched documents will also help in the development of the research question.
By finding several sources of literature to be reviewed, the writer will be able to support his or her argument more effectively because they will have more evidence to support their argument. 2) What might Sarah’s project tutor mean by suggesting that a critical literature review should be ‘balanced’? Sarah’s project tutor wants her to have a balanced literature review. When referring to a ‘balanced’ literature review, he means that the final project should show both sides of the argument to a certain degree. There is not a way to discuss a topic critically and have it be only a one sided argument.
The writer, in this case Sarah, needs to show the alternative side to her argument, and why some may believe that she is not correct. By being able to challenge the argument and still prove why her argument is a better solution her paper will be more persuasive. 3) What does Sarah need to do to develop a literature review which is sufficiently critical, yet also sufficiently balanced? Sarah’s research needs to be critical to help prove her argument. It also has to be balanced in a way that does not confuse the reader of what her argument is.

Sometimes balanced literature reviews do not sufficiently support the argument. Instead, they merely discuss the pros and cons of the issue. Sarah’s first two drafts of her literature review were not balanced. The first one did not show the alternative to her argument. And the second draft was too critical, in that it did not prove her argument. A balanced piece of work will highlight reasons that support the question or thesis, while still showing alternatives to the argument. This shows both sides of the argument while emphasizing reasons why the writer’s opinion is the optimal one.

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