Analyzing Literature

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Analyzing Literature

Paul and Elder (2012) associate three phases with their definition of critical thinking (p. xix):

  1. It analyzes thinking . . . By focusing on the parts of thinking in any situation—its purpose, question, information, inferences, assumptions, concepts, implications, and point of view.
  2. It evaluates thinking . . . By figuring out its strengths and weaknesses: the extent to which it is clear, accurate, precise, relevant, deep, broad, logical, significant, and fair.
  3. It improves thinking . . . By building on its strengths while reducing its weaknesses.

Your Literature Review assignment due this week will apply all of these phases of critical thinking to the scholarly sources you have selected. For this discussion activity, you will select one journal article you have selected for the Literature Review assignment and apply the first phase to analyze the thinking represented in the article:

  1. First, describe the topics for which you researched relevant scholarly articles.
  2. Next, identify one of these articles and explain how it is relevant to your topic.
  3. Then use the Elements of Thought Discussion Template [DOC] to analyze the article:
    • What is the main purpose of the article?
    • What is the key question the author of the article is addressing?
    • What is the most important information in the article?
    • What key conclusions (inferences) did the author of the article come to and present?
    • What were the most important ideas (concepts) that one would need to understand to understand the author’s line of reasoning?
    • What were the main assumptions (that is, what the author is taking for granted that might be questioned)?
    • What was the main point of view (that is, the author’s perspective) presented in the article?



Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2012). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life (3rd ed.). Pearson.


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