Chapter Exercise

Asking questions (of ourselves and others). Your questions are designed to tell you what you do not already know and guide you in what to find out; but they also draw out hidden aspects of a problem; and, because questions are like claims (see chapter 2), they provide possible conclusions for your argument. You will find that questions are essential to good reasoning, and in chapter 9 we focus on the questions you need to ask. Seek out information. Smart thinking requires information. It also helps us when dealing with information by letting us sift through for the essential things we want to know. Chapter 8 provides guidance on how to search for and recover information analytically—that is, as part of the reasoning process.

Make connections. This activity is crucial. If you are not doing this, you are not thinking smart. It is like doing a jigsaw puzzle—if you put the pieces together in the right way, you come up with the 'right answer' (the picture) at the end. The connections we might make between separate pieces of evidence or ideas are demonstrated most clearly in chapters 3 and 4.

Interpret and evaluate. Not only do you need to interpret and evaluate what you read: you also need to do these actions to your own thinking! Chapters 5 and 6 are all about improving your reasoning and in that process evaluation is critical.

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