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As a student,, it is essential for you to practice reading critically.

Critical reading goes beyond


extracting information from a text; rather, it involves recognizing biases. Critical reading
provides high reflective skills which allow you to stand back and look at the text from different
perspectives. It lends you the ability to see and evaluate how a text presents arguments. Without
this skill, a reader may run the risk of simply memorizing text and accepting them even if they
are flawed, biased, and subjective.
Strategies for Effective Critical Reading
Aside from employing strategies, you have to read the text with an open mind. From here, you
can see how ideas are developed and organized. Remember to think critically all throughout the
reading process and ask higher-order questions whenever possible.
The statements in the text must also be evaluated. Examine the facts and examples; try to check
if there are gaps and inconsistencies. Check for the accuracy and reliability of the sources and
distinguish facts from opinions. Aside from evaluating, look for what is not presented as well.
Based on all the facts presented, assess if the conclusions are acceptable.
In addition, remember to evaluate the credibility of the writer. Analyze the motivation for writing
the text by looking at the writer’s sociopolitical, cultural, economic and personal situations.
Guide Questions for Critical Reading
Below are some general questions that will guide you in reading critically.

 What is the writer’s perspective? Does he/she write from an outsider’s or insider’s
perspective?
 What relevant information is excluded from the text?
 Do you agree with the writer?
 Is the writer objective and accurate?
 How would you describe the tone of the writer?
 Does the text challenge your own values and beliefs?
 Does the text contain fallacies? What are those?
 Are the assumptions made by the writer?
 Does the writer oversimplify complex ideas?
 Does the writer use reasonable generalizations and inferences?
Hypertext vs. Intertext
An intertext refers to a work whose meaning is shaped by referencing or calling to mind other
texts. Basically, other texts help add meaning to the current text. The reader gets to understand
the context of the piece through other texts which parallel it in terms of plot, characters, premise,
and the like. In an interxtual work, the context is not given immediately; only through the wealth
of previous knowledge and experience of further research will be the reader be able to
understand the text. It can occur in either online or printed media, but it is not limited to
literature; it spans other media such as movies, songs, and the like.
On the other hand, a work set in hypertext is characterized by the external links embedded in a
text by the writer. In a hypertext, the reader can read the text in a non-linear way, because he is
led to other links outside the main text. A work in hypertext also enables the reader to arrive at
the intended interpretation, because he is led to where the author exactly wants him to go. The
context is taken through the links or commentaries directly connected to the text being read (i.e.,
definitions of some terms, explanations of certain phenomena mentioned, direction to the next
part of the plot, etc.). It is given directly, since the author has already provided the links and
explanations to the reader. In an online medium, a hypertext is evident through the embedded
links of the author while in printed media, it is seen as the commentaries and footnotes in the
margins.
Types of Claims
When reading texts critically, it is imperative that you identify the type of claims, or the
approach to the topic, to see the main argument. Although we focus on critical reading, it is
useful to note that these claims may also be used when you write your own paper.
To identify the claims, focus on the first and last sentences of a paragraph. The details in each
paragraph will also guide you as to whether a text supports or opposes a certain claim or
argument. Take note of the transitional devices used. The three general types of claims are claim
of fact, claim of policy and claim of value.

Guide Questions for Claims:

 Are the claims presented in the text supported by evidence?


 Are these pieces of evidence valid and sufficient?
 Are the pieces of evidence anecdotal or scientific? How does this nature affect the overall
credibility of the text?
 Does the text have references? Are they reliable and recent?
 How does the writer present facts and opinions?
A claim of fact is an argument about a quantifiable topic. Note that a claim of fact is not fact; it
only asserts a stand regarding a debatable topic. For example, a claim of fact may argue that
climate change does not exist, because these are simply natural cycles of weather change. In this
case, you cannot easily check whether this is indeed a universally accepted and undisputable fact,
as there are other evidences and arguments which disagree with it.
A claim of value argues whether something is good or bad. It is based on judgment and
evaluation on philosophical, aesthetic, or moral standpoint. However, note that it is not merely a
statement of subjective judgment; a claim of value is also assessed based on accurate
information.
A claim of policy is an argument which asserts the implementation of a certain policy. This is
driven by the need to present a solution to problems that have arisen; sometimes it is given as a
response to claims of fact. It generally states solutions and plans that are procedural and
organized. A claim of policy also incorporates judgment coupled with supporting information.

Logical Fallacies
Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning that invalidate an argument. As a critical reader, you
have to identify and examine fallacies and manipulative language found in the text. It is therefore
important that you know what some of the common fallacies are.

Fallacy Description Example


False Dilemma Occurs when an arguer
presents his/her argument as
one of only two options
despite the presence of
multiple possibilities
Appeal to Ignorance Occurs when something is
instantly concluded to be true
just because it is not proven to
be false, and vice versa.
Slippery Slope Occurs when a series of
increasingly superficial and
unacceptable consequences is
drawn
Complex Question Occurs when two or more
points are rolled into one and
the reader is expected to either
accept or reject both at the
same time, when one point
may be satisfactory while the
other is not.
Appeal to Force Occurs when a threat, instead
of reasoning, is used to argue
Appeal to Pity Occurs when the element of
pity is used instead of logical
reasoning
Appeal to Consequences Occurs when unpleasant
consequences of believing
something are pointed out to
show that the belief is false
Bandwagon Occurs when an argument is
considered to be valid because
it is what the majority thinks
Attacking the Person Occurs when someone tries to
refute an argument by
attacking the character of a
person instead of attacking the
ideas of the argument
Appeal to Authority Occurs when the argument
quotes an expert who is not
qualified in the particular
subject matter
Anonymous Authority The authority in question is
not mentioned or named
Hasty Generalization Occurs when a sample is not
significant or enough to
support a generalization about
a population
False Analogy Occurs when a writer assumes
that two concepts that are
similar in some ways are also
similar in other ways
Accident Occurs when a general rule is
applied to a situation, even
when it should be an
exception
Post Hoc Occurs when the arguer claims
that since event A happened
before event B, A is the cause
of B.
Wrong Direction Occurs when the direction
between cause and effect is
reversed
Complex Cause Occurs when the explanation
for an event is reduced to one
thing when there are other
factors which also contributed
to the event
Irrelevant Conclusion Occurs when an argument
which is supposed to prove
something concludes
something else instead.
Straw Man Occurs when the position of
the opposition is twisted so
that it is easier to refute
Affirming the Consequent Any argument of the form: If
A is true then B is true; If B is
true, therefore A is true
Denying the Antecedent Any argument of the form: If
A is true then B is true; If a is
not true then B is not true
Inconsistency Occurs when arguments
contradict one another