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Thursday, August 11, 2016 Check Your Blind Spot

There are few things worse than arguing with someone who refuses to see your side of things. Whether or not St. Patrick’s Day is the most amazing holiday of the year isn’t something you really want to argue about, especially when the other person keeps interrupting you or refusing to let you speak.

In a paper, you are expressing your argument without anyone else there. But the principle still stands that a good argument addresses both sides of a situation. Remember that annoying St. Patrick’s Day person? Don't be that person! 

Kate L. Turabian’s 8th edition of "A Manual for Writers of Dissertations, Theses, and Research Papers" suggests several questions to ask yourself to check your blind spot and make sure you have all angles covered.

1. Did you address the strongest counterarguments?

What do other people have to say about your opinion? If there are substantial counterarguments against what you have to say, you should definitely address them and explain why you chose a certain side.

2. Have you looked for opposing research?

Similar to the first question, have you even searched for people who disagree with you? If not, you are in danger of misleading your readers and appearing naïve.

3. Have you thought about how your evidence could be interpreted differently?

You might think the sky is blue because of a magic spell cast over the earth 800 years ago, but someone else might think it is because the particles in the atmosphere don’t absorb blue light. Look at the magic spell book you used for your evidence and think about how people could interpret it differently or discount your argument because of where you got your information.

4. Have you asked your professor?

When in doubt, ask the boss. If you don’t know if there are any holes in your argument, double check with your professor to see if you are missing any information or counterarguments.

Now you have the knowledge to avoid being that St. Patrick’s Day fanatic. Go be an intelligent, knowledgeable, and effective researcher instead!

Posted at 9:33 AM | Comments (0)
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