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Reading critically-facts and values

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O t the end of this session you will be able to:
O ifferentiate between journalistic writing and
academic writing
O dentify good and bad practices in news reporting
(objective and subjective writing)
O dentify the required structure of an academic
research paper
O dentify how to write critically
O ppreciate the ethical issues in writing research

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O any conflicts involve disputes about facts and
values. espite important differences, facts and
values are often confused -- a conflict of values
may be thought to be a conflict of facts, or vice
versa.
O ecause of the nature of their differences, factual
issues and value issues will contribute different
kinds of problems to a conflict.
O arties must be able to sort these out, handling
each type appropriately, in order to be able to
address a conflict constructively
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ábjective Facts

O he term "fact" refers to a truth about the world, a statement


about some aspect of objective reality. For example, there is
a fact that can be given as an answer to each of the
following questions:
O hat is the average flow rate of the River ear?
O hen taken into custody, what was the suspect's blood-
alcohol level?
O s the global warming trend natural or the result of pollution?

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O fact does not depend on who believes it or who presents it. fact
simply p .
O he most useful kinds of facts are those that can be verified by others.
y performing a scientific experiment or a thorough investigation, we
can become convinced that a claim is an authentic fact. áther kinds of
facts, though, may be more difficult to find, or may even be completely
unknowable.
O .

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O For example, it might not be possible to know
whether the global warming trend is part of a
natural long-term cycle or is being caused by
human activity.
O his doesn't mean there p no fact, it merely means
we have no access to it. Facts exist at every point
on the spectrum between what is knowable and
what is unknowable, and this changes over time --
some things that we cannot know today may be
within our grasp at some point in the future

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Ôubjective Values

O Values, as opposed to facts, have a clearly


subjective element. hey vary from person to
person and from situation to situation. For example,
a value judgment is called upon to answer each of
the following questions:
O ho has a better foreign policy, Labour,
Conservative or Liberal emocrat party?
O Children have better parenting in two-parent
families

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O he answers to these questions are both
subjective, in that each of us likely has our own
opinion, and relative, in that they may be answered
in different ways in different contexts. For example
Labour may have a better foreign policy for
nternational id but the Conservatives a better
policy for security.
O ow do you measure good parenting? and do you
count all categories of single parent households?
ow valid is the assumption that having 2 parents
is universally good?

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O uestions that call for value judgments are not susceptible
to matter-of-fact answers. e expect people to have
different personal opinions on such matters. hough you
and  may argue over a value judgment, we are likely at
some point to 2  whatever differences we may have.
O e also tend to accept the fact that people with differing
cultural backgrounds and/or religious views will have
different sets of values. embers of a cultural or religious
group expect similar values of other members, but do not
expect these values to be found in non-members.
O
.g. arranged marriages

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he situation becomes more complicated for other kinds of
value judgments -- specifically, moral ones. áffering a moral
judgment can resemble offering a fact in that it is an 2
to describe objective reality instead of merely stating a
preference or opinion. For example, consider the following
statements:
O illing, except in self-defence, is wrong.
O f you make a promise to someone, you should keep it.
O t is important to be tolerant of others of different races and
ethnic backgrounds.

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O hese kinds of claims fall under the category of   .
Like a statement of preference, people may differ on these kinds of
issues. ut making a moral statement goes beyond offering an opinion.
O
.g. if we say killing is j  we don't mean that as opinion, we mean
that as if it were a 2 . e also may not mean it to be relative to just me
or my social group, instead meaning it is wrong for 22j .
O n this way, ethical statements try to express something that is supposed
to be  p true. nd unlike when someone disagrees with us
about foreign policy or the celebration of a religious holiday, when
someone disagrees with us on an ethical issue, we are much more likely
to be shocked or appalled instead of thinking they merely have a
different point of view.

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O ournalistic writing often appeals to emotions by
using subjective language. he audience for
newspapers is different from an academic
readership. Ôome of the tactics used are:
O ppeals to spurious authority
± ³ rofessor ones said that«´ implying that because
she/he¶s a professor he/she must be an expert
O se of subjective, value-laden adjectives, e.g.
± ³the results showed an enormous effect´,
± ³Ômith (2005) makes a ridiculous assertion that «´

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O
xaggeration
± Ôensationalism
± emonisation
± Ôimple inflation to beyond credulity
O ppeals to vanity
± t is obvious to any intelligent person that «..
O ppeals to authority
± rof X states categorically that «
O sing rhetorical questions
O Read the articles and pick out good and bad practice

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O Ô is devil girl Chelsea á¶ahoney ²

O caged yesterday for the ³happy slapping´ killing of


O barman avid orley when she was just !|-.
O judge lifted the ban on identifying the killer ² now 16 ²
O after sending her down for eight years at the áld ailey.
O á¶ahoney used her video phone to film the attack that left
O avid dying from 44 injuries, including a ruptured spleen
O and five fractured ribs.
O Ôhe booted the 37-year-old¶s head like a football as other
O gang members piled in, making sure she had it all on film. þ  
   
  
O Ôhe even gloated: ³ose for the camera.´
O hree other members of á¶ahoney¶s evil gang were
O sentenced to 12 years each for manslaughter ² in a crime that shocked ritain.

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7 hree-year-old smothered with chloroform rag
7 an had read emails describing sex fantasies
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O hospital radiographer who smothered his three-year-old elder daughter with a rag
soaked in chloroform after discovering his wife was having an affair with a married judge
was jailed for life yesterday.
O avin all, 33, drugged and suffocated his daughter melia at the family's home in
rchester, Northamptonshire two days before her fourth birthday. illie, as she was known,
was found by her mother under a duvet in the living room the next morning«««.
O Ôhortly before 4am he again texted his wife: "oodbye, illie sends her love. Ôhe died at
3.32am. Love till death us do part  said and this is what  meant."
O all was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 15 years at Northampton
crown court at the end of a six-day trial. Ôentencing him after the jury had found him guilty
of murder, udge Charles ide C said illie's murder was a planned and premeditated
attack carried out after all had discovered the "extraordinarily sexually explicit" emails.

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O Choose a topic to review
O e clear who you are writing for, who your
audience is
O roduce a guiding concept or build a
theoretical structure that can explain facts
and relationships between them
O t may lead to the formulation of a theory

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O ave you supported your hypothese? hat could have been done better. hat could future research do?

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O his needs to be in the format of the ournal that you are submitting - for this module use the arvard referencing system
(see the module handbook for details).. e precise with the exact format
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O ut your approach in the context of the key papers on the subject covered
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O rrange your content not as descriptive headings but as pointers to your argument
O Citations in the text ±always include the date with author¶s surname
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.g.´ «it was found by urner (2000) that«´
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O Ôtart with a brief summary of your main findings, are there any implications from your findings? hat could have been
done better. hat could future research do?
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O se arvard referencing system

O eg abbs, .., Chang,


.L., Ôtrong, R. ., and ilun, R. (1998). Ôpatial ability, navigation strategy, and geographic
knowledge among men and women. ] p2 2 2p  19(2), 89-98

O hese should be in alphabetical order at the end (not in footnotes)


O
very assertion that you have made in your ntroduction, main section or discussion
O needs to be backed by evidence in the form of a citation
O .

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O his should summarise the context of the
paper, your approach, possibly the methods
used and the main findings
O t should be capable of being read separate
from the paper (so don¶t put citations in it)

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O his should set the scene, critically assess
the main papers written in this field (for
example you may want to follow the
approach used by a cited author) and
introduce the how the paper is structured

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O Ôections should follow on logically from each
other and follow an argument
O o not just list many subheadings covering
descriptions of aspects of your subject
O ry to think of the main issues that emerge
from your perusal of the literature
O se citations to support your assertions

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O his may be preceded by a discussion (of the results if your
research paper is describing results of an experiment)
O    )
O Review paper
± Ôummarise the conceptual approach taken and discuss the main
points that have emerged from your literature review

O
xperimental work:
± summary of your interpretation of the data and results of the
experiment. You should restate the hypothesis and whether you
found the hypothesis to be true or false. You should also comment
on how the results of the experiment satisfied your original purpose.

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O hese should be written in the arvard style
O o not put numbers before the references-
references should be cited by uthor name
and year in the main body of the paper, not
be numbers
O ost of the references should be to peer-
reviewed academic journal papers, some
recent books and web references kept to a
minimum
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O here is a convention for writing reviews/ research
papers
O he exact order and content may differ but all
papers have the same basic structure
O ifferent cademic ournals require specific
requirements about length, format, referencing style
so if you want to be published you must write in the
required format
O
very section should follow logically, you construct
your argument as though you were stringing beads,
one point logically follows another.

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O ractice
O t is difficult to write concisely
O You must be objective
O You must not use unfair tactics
± Rhetorical questions
± ppeals to authority
±
xaggeration
± se of unsupported assertions

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O riting means rewriting and rewriting
O t may read ok to you but you are too close to
the work.
O Leave time in your planning for someone
else to read over your work
O No-one can write a perfect piece of prose at
a first attempt.

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ábjective Facts

O he term "fact" refers to a truth about the world, a statement


about some aspect of objective reality. For example, there is
a fact that can be given as an answer to each of the
following questions:
O hat is the average flow rate of the Colorado River?
O hen taken into custody, what was the suspect's blood-
alcohol level?
O s the global warming trend natural or the result of pollution?

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O o not use unsupported statements that
imply that you, the author, are the expert on
the subject.
very part of your argument
must be supported by evidence when you
are reviewing a body of published work.
.g.
± o not use ³of course´, ³it is obvious that´

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O You must obtain permission from an
organisation before approaching people
O his is a basic courtesy and you may well
need consent from the
thics Committee at
the niversity to conduct the study
O
.g. he ritish sychological Ôociety has
produced ethical principles for Research with
human subjects

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O
ncroachment on privacy
O Confidentiality
O Ôeeking guidance from more experienced
researcher if subjects ask for advice on
educational, personality or behavioural problems
O Ôafety
O Care when researching children
O Not collecting data ostensibly for one purpose but
the subjects are not told the real purpose

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O notorious example is where pathologists
took tissue samples from dead children for
research without the consent of their parents
O Considerable distress was caused when
parents realised that children had been
buried with parts missing (like the brain)

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O ³lands were routinely stripped from dead bodies without consent so they could be used in research, it
has been claimed. he epartment of ealth has admitted that hospital workers were paid to remove
pituitary glands from dead patients.
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O ut it has refused to confirm claims made by a former mortuary assistant that the practice usually took
place without the knowledge or consent of grieving relatives.
O he practice was exposed by Fred Foreman, who worked at Liverpool's Fazakerley ospital in the
1960s and 1970s.
O e said the glands, found just below the brain, were used to manufacture growth hormone used to treat
children.
O Ôome were also sold to pharmaceutical firms in the Ô for the development of fertility treatment.
O r Foreman said although he was disturbed by the practice, it was widely accepted as part of the job.
O   
O e said: "here were never any consent forms or correspondence from relatives.
O "hey had no idea what was happening and would have been devastated if they had known." ³

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O his lecture has introduced you to the following
issues:
O ifference between journalistic writing and
academic writing
O the required structure of an academic research
paper
O how to write critically
O n appreciation of the ethical issues in writing
research
O ow to critique (not write) a whole academic paper.

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