Thinking Sociologically, Thinking Critically

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Text of Thinking Sociologically, Thinking Critically

  • Chris McMillan, Academic Skills Adviser

  • What does it mean to think critically?

  • Its what we do!!

  • Complete the sentence: I never understand why people on one of the post-it notes provided

    Pass these notes around the class until you have lost track of their source

    Answer this questions: How could we investigate this question?

  • Questioning the world around you

    Being an active and sceptical participant

    Asking Why, How and How do we know rather than describing what

  • Studying in the social sciences produces different ways of being critical

    Different disciplines use different frameworks to ask and answer research questions Methodological assumptions

    Theoretical frameworks

    Different ways of asking questions produce different answers

  • "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?

    Should cannibalism, as part of a good diet, be a criminal offense in New Zealand?

    Should physically assaulting a child be a criminal offense in New Zealand?

    What are the main assumptions made about childrens behaviour and modes of learning that are being made in this debate?

    How is physical discipline being represented in criminal drama shows?

  • When was Brunel University founded?

  • What were the conditions that led to Brunel becoming a university?

    What are the factors that have influenced Brunels development since 1966?

    What are the current pressures influencing the Universitys development and how could it best respond to these pressures?

  • How many people are likely to die from the effects of climate change?

  • ?

  • Which of these is true?

    Derek "The Slipper Man" Fan holds the Guinness World Records record for wearing a pair of dress slippers for 23 years straight as of June 30, 2007.[2]

    The ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz sold for a record $165,000.[3]

  • Survey





    Why are you reading?

    Set goals for your reading

    Read quickly: skim or scan

    In-depth Critical Analysis

    Are your questions answered?

  • How is it being said?

    Who said it? Why is it being said?

    So what?

    What argument is being presented? What authority and evidence is used to support this argument? What methods were used to produce the information? What has been assumed to be true?

    What authority do they have? When was it said?

    Do the authors have any particular interest in the issue? Are they responding to a debate or event?

    Why is this important? What are the consequences of this research? What research is required in the future?

  • Using the critical questions presented above, read through the article, critiquing the information presented

    What is the main argument of the research?

    What is your critique of this argument?


    Simpsons meat council

    Simpsons medical marijuana

    Simpsons Romney

  • Why is this funny? Or wasnt it?

  • Dont describe critique, analyse, argue

    Know how to think rather than remembering

    This is the purpose, and value, of a degree in social sciences

    Each discipline has its own tools for asking and answering research questions