Reading Sources with a Critical Eye

     
  • What ARGUMENTS does the author make? Does the author present a number of different positions, or does he or she argue for a particular position? Do you need to ANALYZE THE ARGUMENT?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • How persuasive do you find the argument? What reasons and evidence does the author provide in support of any position(s)? Are there citations or links—and if so, are they credible? Is any evidence presented without citations? Do you find any of the author's assumptions questionable? How thoroughly does he or she consider opposing arguments?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the author's STANCE? Does the author strive for objectivity, or does the language reveal a particular bias? Is the author associated with a special interest that might signal a certain perspective? Does he or she consider opposing views? Do the sources cited reflect multiple viewpoints, or only one?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • Does the publisher bring a certain stance to the work? Book publishers, periodicals, or Web sites that are clearly liberal or conservative or advance a particular agenda will likely express views reflecting their STANCE.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • Do you recognize ideas you've run across in other sources? Does it leave out any information that other sources include?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • Does this source support or challenge your own position—or does it do both? Does it support your thesis? offer a different argument altogether? Does it represent a position you may need to ACKNOWLEDGE or REFUTE? Don't reject a source that challenges your views; your sources should
    reflect a variety of views on your topic, showing that you've considered the subject thoroughly.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

  • What can you tell about the intended AUDIENCE and PURPOSE? Are you a member of the audience addressed—and if not, does that affect the way you interpret what you read? Is the main purpose to inform readers about a topic or to argue a certain point?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    ______________________________________________________________________________________