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Evaluating Written Texts by

Analyzing Claims
Extraordinary claims require
extraordinary evidence
~Carl Sagan
To explain critical reading as looking for ways
of thinking;
To identify claim of fact, policy, and value
explicitly or implicitly made in a written text;
To write a 1000-word critique of a selected
text on the basis of its claim, context and
properties as a written material.
Critical Reading Techniques
1. Keeping a reading journal
is meant as a personal expression or ones
thoughts on experiences, inspirations,
accomplishments failures, and the many
discoveries in everyday life.
Critical Reading Techniques
2. Annotating the text
is simply making notes on your copy of the
reading. This includes highlighting or underlining
important passages and writing notes,
comments, questions, and reactions on the
A Readers Guide to Annotation
2.1 Use a pen, pencil, post-it notes or a highlighter.
(Although use it sparingly!)
*Summarize important ideas in your own words
*Add examples from real life, other books, TV,
movies, and so forth
*Define words that are new to you.
*Mark passages that you find confusing with a???
*Write questions that you might have
Critical Reading Techniques
4. Summarizing the text
similar to outlining, in that you need to get
the gist. It consists of getting the main points of
the essay, and important supporting details.
Critical Reading Techniques
4. Summarizing the text
similar to outlining, in that you need to get
the gist. It consists of getting the main points of
the essay, and important supporting details.
Critical Reading Techniques
5. Questioning the text
Involves asking specific questions on points that
you are skeptical about.
Ask yourself
What type of audience is addressed?
What are the writers assumptions?
What are the writers intentions?
How well does the writer accomplish these?
How convincing is the evidence presented?
How reliable are the sources? Are they based on
personal experience, scientific data, or outside
Did the writer address opposing views on the issue?
Is the writer persuasive in his/her perspective?
Essential Questions
What are the benefits of becoming a critical
How does critical reading improve my writing?
How can I effectively distinguish among claims
of fact, policy, and value?
Why do we need sufficient, relevant evidence,
and sound reasoning to support a claim?
Determining Explicit and Implicit

Explicit Implicit
ideas that are
suggested but not
information that is stated outright in the
clearly stated text
Defining Claims
Claims or central argument is the writers point or position regarding
the chosen topic. This claim is what the writer tries to prove in the text
by providing details, explanations, and other types of evidence.

1. A claim
should be

4. A claim 2. A claim
should be of Good should be
logical. Claims specific and

3. A claim
should be
and engaging.
Distinguishing Between Types of Claim

claims of fact claims of claims of policy

state a value posit that specific
quantifiable assert something actions should be
assertion or a that can be chosen as solutions to
measurable topic qualified a particular problem.
rely on reliable consist of usually begins with
sources or arguments about should, ought to,
systematic moral, or must
procedures to be philosophical, or usually answers
validated aesthetic how questions
Identifying the Context of Text


-modelling of a - presents a new way to

read on-line text that differs
texts meaning by from reading linear text
another text such as books
-dialogue among
different texts and - user may then browse
interpretations of through the sections of the t
text, jumping from one text
the writer, the section to another
audience, and the -this permits a reader to use
current and earlier these features automatically
rather than requiring
cultural contexts. readers to manually refer to
them as needed
Critical Reading as Reasoning
1. Fact 2. Convention
statement that can be proven objectively way in which something is done, similar
by direct experience, testimonies of to traditions
witnesses, verified observations, or the
results of research and norms

are declarative sentences that
claim something is true about
something else

3. Opinions
4. Preference
are based on facts, but are difficult to
based on personal choice; therefore, they
objectively verify because of uncertainty
are subjective an cannot be objectively
of producing satisfactory proofs of
proven or logically attacked
Formulating Counterclaims
Counterclaims are made to rebut a previous claim. They
provide a constructing perspective to the main argument.
The following questions will help you formulate a
What are the major points on which you and the author
can disagree?
What is their strongest argument? What did they say to
defend their position?
What are the merits of their view?
What are the weaknesses or shortcoming in their
Are there any hidden assumptions?
Which lines from the text best support the counterclaim
you have formulated?
Determining Textual Evidence
Evidence is defined as the details given by the
author to support his/her claim.
Evidence can include the following:
facts and statistics (objectively validated
information on your subject);
opinion from experts (leading authorities on
a topic, such as researchers or academics); and
personal anecdotes (generalizable, relevant,
and objectively considered).
Questions in Determining Evidence
from Text
What questions can you ask about the claims?
Which details in the text answer your questions?
What are the most important details in the paragraph?
What is each ones relationship to the claim?
What details do you find interesting? Why?
What are some claims that do not seem to have support?
What kinds of support could they be provided with?
What are some details that you find questionable? Why do
you think so?
Are some details outdated, inaccurate, exaggerated, or
taken out of context?
Are the sources reliable?
Here are some tips for using text evidence:
Characteristics of Good Evidence

specific and
unified relevant

or typical
A paraphrase is
Your own rendition of essential information
and ideas expressed by someone else,
presented in a new form.
one legitimate way (when accompanied by
accurate documentation) to borrow from a
a more detailed restatement than a summary,
which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Why paraphrasing is a valuable skill?
It is better than quoting information from an
undistinguished passage
It helps you control the temptation to quote
too much
The mental process required for successful
paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full
meaning of the original.
Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full
2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note
3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you
later how you envision using this material. At the top of the
note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject
of your paraphrase.
4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that
your version accurately expresses all the essential
information in a new form.
5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or
phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so
that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the
material into your paper.
Paraphrases and summaries do not use quotation
marks and require the authors last name and year of
publication. Page number is not required for
paraphrases and summaries.
When citing a source, you always have two choices: 1)
Write the authors name as part of your sentence in
the text. 2) Write the authors name in the
parentheses. Use only last name in all APA in-text
citations and do not include the title of books or
articles in the body of your paper. The date must go
directly after the authors name.
1-2 authors in text
Emerys (2004) case study of a boy with
autism found art therapy to be a useful tool to
help him relate to others.
Abrams and Kane (2007) report the drop-out
rate is double that of other schools.
Authors in parenthetical:
Art therapy was found to be a useful tool to
help a young boy with autism relate to others
(Emery, 2004).
The drop-out rate is double that of other
schools (Abrams & Kane, 2007).
Multiple authors:
Three five authors At first mention in the
paper, write all authors names. Thereafter,
use et al.
Authors in a text Authors in parenthetical:

To gain the benefits of educational

Hurtado, Dey, Gurin, and Gurin (2003) diversity, universities must . . . (Hurtado,
emphasize that to gain the benefits of Dey, Gurin, & Gurin, 2003).
educational diversity, universities must.. To gain the benefits of educational
Hurtado et al. (2003) emphasize that to diversity, universities must . . . (Hurtado et
gain the benefits of educational diversity, al., 2003).
universities must .
Multiple Authors
Six or more authors: Use only the first authors name
followed by et al.
(Kosslyn et al., 1996)
Multiple references in the same parentheses: Put in
alphabetical order by authors last name and separate
with semi-colon.
(Bruffee, 1993; Goodsell, Maher, & Tinto, 1992;
Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Pike, 1993)
Source with no author: Use abbreviated version of
title. (Study Finds, 2007)
the book College Bound Seniors (2008) describes
Read more:
Some examples to compare
The original passage A legitimate paraphrase
Students frequently overuse In research papers students
direct quotation in taking often quote excessively, failing
notes, and as a result they to keep quoted material down
overuse quotations in the final to a desirable level. Since the
[research] paper. Probably only problem usually originates
about 10% of your final during note taking, it is
manuscript should appear as essential to minimize the
directly quoted matter. material recorded verbatim
Therefore, you should strive to (Lester 46-47).
limit the amount of exact
transcribing of source materials
while taking notes. Lester,
James D. Writing Research
Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
Some examples to compare
An acceptable summary A plagiarized version
Students should take just a few Students often use too many
notes in direct quotation from direct quotations when they
sources to help minimize the take notes, resulting in too
amount of quoted material in a many of them in the final
research paper (Lester 46-47). research paper. In fact,
probably only about 10% of the
final copy should consist of
directly quoted material. So it is
important to limit the amount
of source material copied while
taking notes.
Effective Paraphrase
Poor Paraphrase