Reading both popular and professional literature is an activity fraught with risk. In this age of electronic communication, wikis, sound bites, and rapid dissemination of news and other information, there is an increased risk that information you access may not be accurate. The likelihood of being exposed to “urban myths” or false information that appears to be based on scientific information is much greater than it ever has been. As will be emphasized next week, it is important even in professional articles and reputable journals to be able to distinguish good research from bad, valid arguments from invalid ones, and fact from fiction.
As a scholar practitioner, then, it is essential for you to be a critical thinker when reading, listening to, searching for, and reviewing information. Critical thinking involves learning what the potential pitfalls are in written or broadcasted materials, analyzing the material you encounter for the presence of these pitfalls, as well as other errors in thinking and reasoning, and using your analysis to determine the weight you should give the information obtained from any source. Using critical thinking to sort out the facts from suppositions or hypotheses that are not actually true or clearly tested is one of the most important basic skills you can master. Critical thinking is a tool you will need and use throughout your professional education, training, and practice.
For this Application Assignment, review the articles provided in this week’s resources, “Urinalysis: The Supreme Court’s Justification Of High-School Urine Tests” and “Vaccines May Fuel Autism Epidemic.”
The assignment: (3–4 pages)
- Provide an analysis of the articles from a critical thinking perspective.
- Identify at least three errors in each of the two articles.
- Explain the implications of the errors you identified for your professional psychology practice.
- Be specific, provide examples, and justify your response with the Learning Resources/literature.