If you are just collecting information for a general paper, you can probably work as you did as a kid and be OK.
If you need to figure something out accurately and quickly, critical thinking is a lot like a math problem that is too big to work in your head. You have to use paper and pencil to work it—to try out different solutions and reject some things if necessary. Paper and pencil help:
· With reading FOR evidence
· With the 5Ws chart to help you understand things so you can write WITH evidence
Honorable reporters are expected to cover at least these things:
§ When? (for this class, not a specific date but a period of time or an order of events)
and sometimes How?
Be sure you:
§ Always make sure you understand the questionComparison Topic. For example, if the Comparison Topic is about a region, a type of worker, or any category, always check that you have the right one. If you do not find that in the resources for the course, then ask.
§ Write down the specific page number where you can find a specific fact you place in the chart. (If facts in a section of the chart are from one page, you may place the page number after the last fact.)
§ Do not write down quotations at this stage. Instead, if you think you might want to quote a phrase, write the word QUOTE? and the page number in the 5 Ws Chart as a reminder.
Line things up in each of the time periods so
you can see changes easily. (The videos above show you an example of how to
line up facts.)
When you are doing this for yourself, just write the 5 Ws Chart on a piece of notebook paper with lines.
yourself to a word or two for each
thing. Refer to things in the book; don’t copy what is in the book, especially
Information on a basic method for reading FOR evidence with examples of the reading method and of logging what you observed in a 5 Ws chart for pages:
If you prefer a face-to-face meeting or a phone conference, let me know.
§ If you want to quote a phrase that you identified, open the book and quote it exactly. To avoid errors in quoting, use the brain trick in this link.
your book closed as you write. If you must check on something, open it briefly
but close it again before you write
Why? If you have your book open when you write or you took extensive notes (see the tip with step 1), in almost all cases you will make both these errors:
- Plagiarize or do a “half-copy” version of plagiarism (to use the term in The Bedford Handbook)
- Be factually inaccurate
§ Read your paper syllable by syllable—ideally in a funny accent that will force you to pay attention.
§ Check your paper against each of the instructions for the assignment. Did you do everything?
§ Run spellcheck and grammar check with your paper, but do not make corrections automatically.
§ Check your citations: some people benefit by using this tactile method to make sure their citations are correct.
Here are additional tips on how to prevent different types of errors:
Taking notes in a separate notebook or on paper can be useful if you are collecting information that you do not have easy access to. The typical example of when it is OK to take notes is when you are collecting information for a term paper when you can’t check out the source.
If you take notes in a notebook when you read a textbook or when you read anything you have to do something with, it is dangerous to your success. The simplest way to put it is:
IF you are absolutely sure that taking notes from your textbook is something you ought to do, then click here for a PowerPoint video on the danger of taking notes separately from your source.
Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2015
History – Dr. Bibus
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