Intro to Ethnic Studies (Fisher): Critical Reading

Oral History or Social Issues Research Paper and Presentation

Definition: Information Literacy

"Information Literacy" means... what?

To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. -- American Library Association

Critical Reading

Critical Reading: is a form of language analysis that does not take the given text at face value, but involve a deeper examination of the claims put forth as well as the supporting points and possible counterarguments. (Wikipedia, Critical Reading)

Critical reading is different, because you are not only looking for information, but you are using your judgement to decide if the author has provided enough evidence for you to agree with his/her point of view. It is active reading; you are asking questions of the text.

Evaluating Resources--LIBS 1 Method

  1. Why did the author write the article? What is the purpose?
  2. What is the author’s main point? Everything you are reading has a point. It is the main piece of information or opinion the author wants the reader to know.
  3. Summarize the main point in each paragraph, chapter and article: restate the main point in your own words (paraphrasing), and make sure you are not plagiarizing.
  4. Always keep the citation information for each source (article, book, website) with your notes so you know where your information came from for your in-text citations and Work Cited page.
  5. Make sure you understand the author’s conclusion and can express it in your own words.
  6. Analyze each source. This is where you use your judgement to evaluate the material:
    1. Does the author provide credible evidence? Is it strong or weak? Is it based on emotion or facts?
    2. After noting the main points of each section, did the author’s conclusion follow logically from the preceding paragraphs?
    3. Did the body of the article of chapter provide evidence for the author’s final conclusion?

Critical Reading Handout