Using the Internet for College Research Medieval Harvest
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Separating the Wheat From Chaff
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A Lie is a good as the Truth, if people believe you.

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Internet Resources on Evaluating Web Sites
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Making My Thoughts Your Thoughts - How people can influence your thinking
A. Claims of Fact
1. A condition has existed, exists, or will exist and their support consists of factual information. To support a factual claim, you must give enough appropriate data.
a. What are enough and appropriate data?
b. Who are the authorities?
c. Are my statements facts or inference? Inference, a statement about the unknown on the basis of the known. Inference suggests probability.
"The sun rose this morning." Fact
"The sun will rise tomorrow." Inference.
B. Defending a Claim of Fact
1. Clearly state the claim (preferably at the beginning of the paper or article.)
2. Define your terms.
3. Make sure you have appropriate evidence.
4. Don't mix inferences with facts.
5. Organize your evidence powerfully. Place the most important fact at the beginning or end.

A. Claims of Value
1. These make judgments, express approval or disapproval.
They attempt to prove that some action is good or bad.
Many can be defended or attacked on standards: what are the standards for deciding this action is good or bad.
2. Aesthetics and Morality Value claims about morality express judgments about the rightness or wrongness of conduct or belief.
All you can do is give good reasons why you think one thing is better than another.
B. Defending a Claim of Value
1. Make clear the values you are defending should have a priority on any scale of values.
2. Suggest that your values offer positive results if followed or negative results if ignored.
3. Use concrete examples whenever possible.
4. Use expert witnesses.

A. Claims of Policy
1. Advocates course of action to resolve problem.
a. Sometimes, the first step is to convince the audience that a problem exists.
b. You begin by making a factual claim to define the problem.
B. Defending a Claim of Policy
1. Be clear
2. If necessary, establish the need for change
3. Consider the opposition
4. Devote the bulk of the essay to proving your answer is better than the opposition's and advocating your benefits
5. Use both facts and values.

Convincing You I'm Right

A. Examples
1. Evaluating Factual Evidence
a. Is it current?
b. Is there enough?
c. Is it relevant?
d. Is it representative?
e. Is it consistent with the audience's experience?
B. Statistics
Effective in comparisons that indicate if a quantity is large or small
1. Evaluating Statistical Evidence
a. Is the source trustworthy?
b. Are the terms clearly defined?
c. Are the comparisons valid?
d. What's missing?
C. Opinions
1. Cause and Effect
2. Predictions about the future
3. Solutions to problems
4. Expert
5. Evaluating Opinions
a. Is the source qualified?
b. Is the source biased?
c. Does the source use sufficient evidence?
d. Dueling experts
D. Psychological
Writers try to know what their readers want and what value they assign to their needs
1. Physiological needs (food, shelter)
2. Safety needs
3. Belongingness and Love
4. Esteem
5. Self-actualization needs
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Page last updated 10/10/2000. © 1997, W. Terry Dugas.