SMART THINKING – Skills in analysis and critical thinking.
For more than a year and a half now, I have been writing articles on different topics to develop my 21 skills (from the Swiss program). To complement these with theoretical input, research advice is usually given on “physical” issues such as searching for books, conducting experiments and consulting computer databases. The further I progress in my semesters, the more important it is for me not only to choose my sources well but also to be able to critically assess them.
In addition to dealing with information retrieval, this article will also talk about how to think intelligently to plan the communication of our ideas so that they are clearly understood. Reflecting means checking that we have covered all the important aspects of our topic.
To think Smart, you have to use reasoning. Reasoning is the basis of most of our thinking. It is often described as the process that helps us to think about and communicate the reasons why we hold certain opinions. Something can only be understood in relation to other things. Reasoning allows us to look beyond a world of many events, objects. Sometimes the connections are obvious; other times they are much harder to see. Reasoning is about finding and expressing these links or relationships so that each event, object or idea is explainable in terms of other events, objects or ideas.
There are, as presented in the book, 5 types of reasoning.
- Causal reasoning. It uses common sense and allows reasoning from cause to effect.
- Reasoning from generalization. This reasoning explains how a general impacting event leads to another event
- Reasoning from cases. It takes specific cases and provides a conclusion.
- Reasoning by analogy. Uses an analogy with a given case to draw conclusions.
- Reasoning from terms. Uses the meaning of words in each context.
Methodology is the set of rules and approaches adopted by a researcher during his or her research work to reach one or more conclusions. There are many different types of research that can be carried out, whether through surveys, cross-sectional research, experimental research, laboratory research, etc. What we are interested in in this article is research to collect information that will help us in the writing.
The interest of this type of research is to be able to describe the phenomenon studied precisely. In order to establish a precise description, this research requires the investigator to collect a large amount of information on the phenomenon or subject under study.
Documentary research consists of collecting information on the subject of the research from reliable sources. Depending on the subject, the researcher selects the most relevant documents that are likely to provide essential information for the progress of the research.
Based on theoretical or experimental work, basic research makes it possible to acquire new knowledge from observable phenomena or facts. Unlike applied research, the aim of basic research is not necessarily to apply the results obtained.
Prospective research invites the researcher to establish scenarios in relation to his or her research subject. His investigation and the information collected should then enable him to validate or invalidate the various scenarios described with more precision than mere hypotheses.
Retrospective research is a type of documentary research that focuses on a specific subject from a defined date or chronological period. The research aims to study a topic or phenomenon in a past period.
Comparative research is defined as an analytical tool based on the collection of data from at least two entities or groups of entities. The analysis consists of comparing the different data collected in order to reach a conclusion that provides significant insights into the subject of the investigation.
Benchmarking can be defined as a decision-making tool based on the collection, analysis and comparison of information for a given purpose. However, not all comparative analyses have the same purpose, and therefore they do not all involve the same degree of difficulty in collecting information. This is why it is necessary to understand the different realities that the notion of comparative analysis can cover in order to determine the methodology to be followed inthe particular context of our study.
In research methodology, information is generally treated at three levels;
Primary sources (direct sources) are often produced directly by the witnesses of the event or fact. Such as articles, reports, conferences, theses, dissertations, etc.
They can be classified into 3 categories, observations, interviews and questionnaires (qualitative or quantitative).
Secondary sources (indirect sources) are usually reformulations of ideas or data through books, reports, etc. They are, however, easy to find for the most part. They are, however, easy to find for the writing of our articles.
Tertiary sources are rarer, but they are a broad compilation of secondary sources such as encyclopaedias, general books, bibliographies, school and professional manuals. Finding information effectively is a matter of understanding how this information or knowledge is to be used in our own arguments and explanations. Often, we simply want to have basic descriptive information to use as arguments in our reasoning, without wanting to provide long supporting arguments.
In this article I have decided to combine research methodology with the concept of Smart Thinking. When we want to describe something in our articles, we use words, several words together form statements and these statements form text. To understand this text, you need a context. To be intelligent thinkers, we need to recognize the assumptions around us that influence every argument and explanation. Reasoning is about making connections between our ideas, expressing them in the form of related statements and constructing text to express this knowledge. Clearly, this reasoning is a conscious process, but it also relies on a background of implicit or assumed connections and structures. As we grow up and learn about our environment (from our parents, at school, etc.), all sorts of connections are made for us and become embedded in our minds, so that we don’t even realize we are relying on these structures when we think.
When writing an article, we deal with multiple information and sources (primary, secondary and tertiary), so it is important, when putting them together, to reflect on them in order to give a personal opinion. It is advisable to use as many primary sources as possible, as we ourselves turn them into secondary sources by summarizing them in our articles.
– What? (What am I going to talk about? Are there any synonyms for the subject?
– Who (Who is concerned by my topic? Team, coach, community?
– When (When will my article be published or why?)
– Why (Why do I want to talk about this topic?)
– Where (Who will be my reader? Where will my article be published?
These questions need to be asked before writing my article, as does the sorting of sources found. Then create a writing plan that includes all these elements.