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Ekstrom Library

Critical Thinking and Academic Research: Inferences

This guide explains the fundamental role of critical thinking in the academic research process.

Check Inferences

According to Linda Elder and Richard Paul, "Inferences are conclusions you come to. It's what the mind does in figuring something out. You make inferences every day. (Jane is my friend, so I infer I can trust her.) Realize that every time you make an inference, you might make a different, more logical one" (The Aspiring Thinker's Guide to Critical Thinking, 2009, p. 24).

During the research process, think critically about your inferences and conclusions. Explore multiple points of view and consider alternative ways of interpreting information. Be attentive to your inferences as well as the inferences made in the sources you're reading.

Critical Questions

  • What conclusions am I coming to?

  • Are there other conclusions I should consider?

  • Are my inferences logical?

  • Are the inferences in a particular source logical?

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