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Ekstrom Library

Critical Thinking and Academic Research: Point of View

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

Understand Point of View

No one is completely objective or unbiased. Every researcher has a particular point of view, as does every outside source.

As you work through the research process, think carefully about your beliefs, assumptions, and potential biases. How might these things influence your interpretation of outside sources? How does your point of view affect whether you agree or disagree with a certain argument? You should try to be reasonably objective in your research, looking at multiple points of view, not just those sources that agree with what you already think. However, you should also be aware of your point of view and how it influences your thinking.

Likewise, you should look for the beliefs, assumptions, and biases that influence other points of view. And you should be wary of authors who do not acknowledge their own biases or the existence of other points of view.

Critical Questions

  • How am I looking at this research topic or question?

  • What are my potential biases?

  • What are some other possible points of view on this issue? Have I considered them?

  • Why does this author view the issue in this way?

  • What are the author's potential biases?

  • Does this source acknowledge other perspectives?

  • What interests are served by adopting this point of view?

  • Who or what is responsible for this content/publication? A corporation? A political organization?