The texts used in this course all present arguments in different ways. Argument texts are common across disciplines. For example, science texts will provide evidence to support theories, texts in social sciences will debate the theoretical aspects of a range of topics. Whether you are studying humanities, social sciences, science or technology, you will need to judge whether a text is an appropriate and reliable source. Some texts will be more factual than others and some will attempt to influence your opinions.

The purpose of the questions you ask in this course will be to evaluate what you are reading. As you do the activities you will develop your ability to read critically by asking questions about:

  • the source of the text and the status of the author
  • which subject area the text is from and your own knowledge and opinions on the subject
  • the author’s beliefs and attitudes and how these are expressed in the text
  • what the text says and does, and how
  • what the author’s purpose is in writing

In this free course you will focus on how to be a critical reader. Reading critically is an essential skill at any level of education. It means being aware of your own purposes and opinions as you read and being able to recognise the writer’s purposes and opinions in their writing.

After studying this course, you should be able to:
consider the importance of examining attitudes to texts
understand the organisation of argument texts
distinguish between facts and opinions in texts
examine hedging as a technique used by writers to express opinions and avoid making unsupported generalisations
consider the importance of reliable evidence to support claims.

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