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What are the Issue and Conclusion? The first step in critical thinking. CSIT 58 Chapter 2
The issue is the question or controversy being addressed • Is Tide the best laundry detergent? • Should you get a divorce? • Is the economic stimulus package really a spending program? • Are sports figures paid too much?
DESCRIPTIVE issues are about predictions. They raise questions about the accuracy of descriptions of the past, present or future. • Does aspirin prevent heart disease? • Do we have enough money to buy a new car? • Are smog control devices effective in preventing pollution? • What will the stock market return be for the next decade?
Prescriptive issues are questions of right and wrong. Involve ethics, morals and values. • Is there too much violence on TV? • Should gay marriage be allowed? • What ought to be done about human cloning?
How to determine the issue • May be clearly stated at the beginning or in the title. • Sometimes must look for it. • What is the author is reacting to? • What is the author’s background? • Figure it out from the conclusion
How to determine the Conclusion Look for a statement or set of statements the author wants you to believe. Conclusions are inferred; they are derived from reasoning. Conclusions are ideas that require evidence to support them.
What is the Issue and Conclusion? Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once quipped that though he couldn't define pornography, he knew it when he saw it. Will Internet filtering software ever have it that easy? Not anytime soon, and not without a lot of human intervention. The Internet is too vast and diverse, and the applications too indiscriminate in their quest for the obscene and the pornographic.
The issue and conclusion are clearly stated Issue: Will Internet filtering software ever have it that easy? Conclusion: Not anytime soon, and not without a lot of human intervention. It’s not always this clear
Conclusion Clue #1: Ask what the issue is Knowing what the issue is will help you determine the conclusion as you read the article carefully (or listen to the speech). Sometimes the author will state the issue clearly but make you figure out the conclusion (or vice versa).
Conclusion Clue #2: Look for indicator words but consequently shows that so indicates that in fact in short therefore the most obvious explanation thus the point I’m trying to make is proves that it is highly probable that hence the truth of the matter is suggests that it should be clear that it follows that points to the conclusion that we may deduce that Warning: just because these words appear, it is not necessarily the conclusion.
Conclusion Clue #3:Look in likely locations Beginning OR End
Conclusion Clue #4:A conclusion is not: • Examples • Statistics • Definitions • Background Information • Evidence This is information that supports the conclusion.
Conclusion Clue #5:Check the context • The conclusion may be a predictable one • The source can be biased • The author’s background • Organization belongs to
Conclusion Clue #6: Ask the question, “and therefore?” The author may expect you to draw a conclusion from the information provided. Common in politics. Stated: Candidate X will be soft on crime Unstated: Vote for Candidate Y
Practice 1: Identify the Issue and Conclusion For a better college learning environment, all classes should begin in the afternoon. Most students try to schedule afternoon or evening classes anyway; you rarely hear of a student who is upset at being closed out of the 8a.m. section of a class. Also, experts say that students who are alert learn more and learn more quickly. For example, at Southern State University, one group of students took an 8a.m. psychology course from Dr. Miller while another group took the same course from Dr. Miller at 2p.m. The students in the afternoon class had slightly higher average than those in the morning class. Changing the starting time for classes at universities to afternoon will help students.
Practice 1 Solution Issue: Should starting times for classes be changed to help students learn? Found In: Changing the starting time for classes at universities to afternoon will help students. Conclusion: All classes should begin in the afternoon. Found In: For a better college learning environment, all classes should begin in the afternoon.
Practice 2: Identify the Issue and Conclusion Corporate managers are always interested in techniques for increasing the productivity of their workers. One interesting suggestion made by productivity consultants is to pipe music into the work area. Several recent studies have explored the extent to which different types of music affect workers output. The primary hypothesis examined in the studies was that soft-rock music would prove the greatest aid to productivity. The research has found almost universally that country and western music is the greatest inducement to efficiency. Therefore, corporate officials should seriously consider playing country and western music as a stimulus to worker productivity.
Practice 2 Solution Issue: Should music be played to improve worker productivity? Found In: Several recent studies have explored the extent to which different types of music affect workers output. Conclusion: Play country western music to improve productivity Found In: Therefore, corporate officials should seriously consider playing country and western music as a stimulus to worker productivity.
Conclusion or Opinion? When someone claims something is true or ought to be done and provides no statements to support the claim, that claim is not a conclusion because no one has offered any basis for belief. It’s an opinion instead. End of Chapter 2 Lecture