When completing a critical evaluation it is useful to remember the following acronym:-
CARS (credibility, accuracy, reasonableness and support).
Some extracts may not provide information on each of these areas, but this will allow us to separate a high quality source from a poor quality source.
In your evaluation remember to:
1. Set the scene
Identify the individual/ organisation who are presenting their view. (E.g. Windpro are a group of local villagers). Do they have sufficient interest in the development- are they reasonable people?
What is their stance on the topic of discussion (are they for or against it)?
2. Do NOT use personal opinions in your evaluation!!!!
-It is very easy to do, but it will undermine your argument. The point of an evaluation is to reflect on the value of the information which is presented to you. It may help if you pretend that you know nothing about the topic being discussed.
3. Use quotes accurately
If you are including quotes from the extract in your evaluation, make sure that you quote them accurately. I have seen students misquote information from extracts, and it changes your whole argument if you start to talk about something which was not mentioned in the extract!
4. Avoid using the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
These are terms which are interpreted differently by different people i.e. what is ‘good’ to one person may be ‘bad’ to another. Instead, refer to the strength of the argument. A ‘strong’ or ‘weak’ argument provides slightly more information than a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ argument.
5. Look at statistics critically.
Recognise that while statistics can provide support or evidence to an argument many of them are misleading, particularly averages.
6. Recognise bias and exaggeration.
This is usually recognised where reference is made to instances out with the context of the issues being discussed. There is usually a lack of evidence and the language used tends to be extreme in nature.
Which of the extracts do you see as being most valuable? Is the extract backed up with CARS (credibility, accuracy, reasonableness and support)?
Courtesy of Christine Kelt of the ckelt.co.uk forum.
Geographical Issues: critical evaluations
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