Applications of Critical Thinking

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Now is the time to take what you have been learning and apply it to the professional literature. When critically evaluating professional literature, there are some basic principles you should keep in mind:

1. Research needs to be conducted in a way that actually answers the question(s) posed by the researcher(s). This means you need to pay attention to the research methodology in a scientific paper or article and assess whether it adequately answers the research question(s).

2. Information sources are important. Journals and other publications vary in the extent to which articles submitted for publication are scrutinized for scientific and factual adequacy. Journals that use a process called “blind peer review” generally are considered to be reliable and contain balanced and accurate information. When reading journal articles, check to see if the journal uses “blind peer review” in determining whether to publish the article. Most journals publish an editorial article that describes the review process it uses to assess submitted articles. You always should check to see if the source of an article you are reading is adequate and reliable.

3. Textbooks are not always accurate and often are slanted to represent a particular perspective favored by the author(s). As you read a text, try to identify any biases and factor them into the weight you give to the information it presents.

4. Search for and read competing views, as well as perspectives with which you find yourself readily agreeing. Be sure to base your final understanding on an accurate study of both sides of an argument, as well as on recognition of your own personal biases.

For this assignment, review the article provided in this week’s resources, “Sadder and Less Accurate? False Memory for Negative Material in Depression.” Then, use the Walden University Library or Internet resources to find and select one professional journal article that presents an opposing view on this topic.

The assignment: (34 pages)

  • Explain how the professional journal article you selected defends its opposing view from the original article.
  • For each article, explain any biases, slants in opinions, and any other errors in logic that are present. Be specific and provide examples from the literature.
  • Explain how, if at all, reading the opposing article changed your views on the topic presented in the original article.
  • Explain the importance of applying critical thinking to the reading of psychological research and professional literature.

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