The point of the exercise is not to come to conclusions about the 'right answer' but to develop your conscious ability to ask questions about the sources of the information you are seeking. In other words, to be effective reasoners, we need to do more than ask 'What is in this book/experiment/article/interview that I can use in my argument?'; we must also ask questions such as:

• What sort of source is it: direct? indirect?

• Under what conditions was the information in this source produced?

• What was the original purpose of the source?

• What methods, approaches, or definitions does the source employ?

• Does it tell me more about the author or about the topic?

• When was it written or performed?

• How does the context of this source affect the information within it?

As noted at the start of chapter 8, good analysis is as much about asking questions as it is about finding answers. Hence, if our research is to be an active and

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