May 12, 2022 Uncategorized

Thinking Critically about History Worksheet

Description

SCENARIO: Imagine you represent your company at a service organization dealing with one of these two issues: 

Facing Economic Change

Engaging Civil Rights

  • Your supervisor has asked you to research information related to the history of one of these issues for your organization to help new employees and volunteers understand it better. Eventually, you will make an oral presentation with slides that include your findings and recommendations. Your predecessor already started a list of sample primary and secondary sources and collections of sources. 
  • ASSIGNMENT: You’ll use the critical thinking process to investigate an issue and craft the argument you’ll be presenting in Touchstone 3. 

The touchstone templates below will guide you through this process in five steps: 

Knowledge: What are the focused questions that will help you investigate your research question?

Comprehension: What have you learned about your issue? 

Application: How do your sources connect?

  • Analysis: How will you use your evidence?
  • Synthesis: What are the main points you will communicate?
  • For this touchstone, you will take the first step in creating your presentation to help new employees and volunteers understand how historical events can be applied to one of the issues currently affecting your organization. To do the research necessary for your presentation, you will need to choose four sources that are credible and relevant to the issue facing your organization. 
  • You will first select the specific issue and research question you want to address. Then, from a collection of sources, you will choose two primary and two secondary sources that have relevant information for the historical events you want to include in your presentation. Finally, you will evaluate the credibility of your chosen sources by answering a set of questions. 
  • To begin, download the touchstone template below and fill out the sections as you complete each step. When you have finished, you will submit this template to move onto the next unit.

A. Directions

Step 1. Knowledge

You’ll use the Knowledge step of the critical thinking process to figure out what information will help you answer your research question. Remember, in the Knowledge step, you ask yourself these questions:

What are some more focused questions I can use to guide my investigation?

What smaller pieces of information will I need to answer the bigger research question?

By breaking your research question down into smaller pieces and writing out what information you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the evidence you need from your sources and build your knowledge of the issue.

In this Knowledge step, you will:

select your issue

select your research question

identify key words

  • 1a. Select Your Issue
    Select the issue you’d like to focus on for your presentation. As you saw in the scenario above, your supervisor has asked you to present lessons learned from historical events related to one of two issues: Facing Economic Change or Engaging Civil Rights. You will choose only one of these issues to write about, so pick the one that’s most interesting to you or most relevant to your work.
  • Read about each issue below and then select one to use for this touchstone.

Issue 1: Facing Economic Change
The pace of economic and workplace change is faster than ever. How have people been affected by such changes in the past and how have they adapted? What lessons can we learn for success in the modern workplace to deal with the changes that might occur down the road?Issue 2: Engaging Civil Rights
The United States was established on the principles of freedom, rights, and equality—in a society that condoned slavery and unequal rights. It has been a historical struggle to expand and apply those founding principles more inclusively, especially for African Americans, women, and immigrant groups. What have been the key barriers to progress and how have different groups been affected? How have those groups overcome obstacles? What are related current issues and how might they be successfully addressed both now and in the future?

1b. Select Your Research Question
To begin investigating your selected issue, you must choose to focus on one of the following research questions.

Issue 1: Facing Economic Change
If you choose to focus on this issue for your presentation, you will select one of the following questions.

  • What if the bottom falls out? How can you prepare and protect yourself for bad times based on lessons learned from the Great Recession of 2008 and the Great Depression?
  • What happens when the workplace changes? How can people adjust when the workplace changes and what lessons can we learn from the U.S. Industrial Revolution and the Information Age?
  • Issue 2: Engaging Civil Rights
    If you choose to focus on this issue for your presentation, you will select one of the following questions.

What lessons can we learn from women’s history? What strategies were used and what lessons can we learn from the struggles women faced in the late 1800s–early 1900s and the 1960s–1970s for engaging current and future women’s rights issues?

What lessons can we learn from African American history? Considering past struggles from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s for African American civil rights, what lessons can we learn about the best strategies for engaging civil rights now and in the future?

What lessons can we learn from immigrant history? Based on lessons learned from policies in the late 1800s and early 1900s on immigration, how can present-day immigration issues be addressed to help new immigrants to their new home in the United States?

What lessons can we learn from the fight for LGBTQ+ rights over the years? What strategies were used and what lessons can we learn from how this group has fought for its rights since the 1960s, and how can present-day LGBTQ+ civil rights advocates combat businesses, people and institutions that continue to openly discriminate? 

1c. Identify Key Words
Now that you’ve selected the research question that you’ll focus on for your presentation, it’s time to look for the sources that will provide answers to it. Although you will have access to a list of primary and secondary sources that have already been collected for the issue you’ve chosen, you’ll still need to figure out which ones will help you answer your research question. That’s where key words can help.

As you read earlier in this course, key words are specific and meaningful words associated with your research question. You may also want to include concepts or phrases from your research question (like “U.S. manufacturing 1940s” below) in order to focus your search. Check out the example below to see this process in action.

EXAMPLE
Issue: Facing Economic Change
Research question: How did World War II affect manufacturing in the United States in the 1940s?
Key words and phrases: World War II, U.S. manufacturing 1940s, economy, economic change

Step 2. Comprehension

Now that you’ve selected a research question and you have some key words in mind, it’s time to find two primary and two secondary sources for your assignment and review them. Your key words will come in handy as you evaluate the list of sources to see which ones best support your research question.

To begin developing an answer for your research question, you need to review information about the historical events you are considering. As you recall from the assignment scenario, your predecessor has already collected information related to the issue you are investigating, and the secondary and primary sources from the collection are listed below.

2a. Choose Primary and Secondary Sources

Based on the issue that you have chosen, review the corresponding sources and select two secondary and two primary sources that most closely support your research question.

Issue 1: Facing Economic ChangeIssue 2: Engaging Civil RightsFacing Economic Change SourcesWomen’s History Sources
African American History Sources
Immigrant History Sources
LGBTQ+ Sources
As you review each of the sources in the collection, keep in mind your research question and the key words you brainstormed in the previous steps. This will help you skim through the sources and locate the four sources you need.

2b. Evaluate Primary and Secondary Sources Once you have selected the four sources that you want to use to investigate your research question, you are ready to begin evaluating for credibility. The touchstone template will guide you through each of the elements that are required to evaluate your sources.

Step 3. Application

Now it’s time to think about how your sources connect to one another. This will help you apply the information you’ve collected to answer your research question.

Look for connections among your sources by comparing, contrasting, and corroborating information. Make sure to consider their historical context and how they are related to the time period they are from. Then answer the following questions in your touchstone template:

What links or similarities do you see among your sources of information?

  • What discrepancies or differences do you see among your sources of information?
  • Step 4. Analysis

The Analysis step of the critical thinking process is about taking a closer look at your evidence. Think about which pieces of evidence will provide the strongest support for your argument and what details from your sources you will use to illustrate your main points. Think also about what evidence may be less useful, or may even oppose your argument. Being honest with yourself at this stage about which pieces of evidence support your argument, and which do not, will help you to improve your final presentation.

Examine your evidence and think about how it can help you make a convincing argument. Then answer the following questions in your touchstone template:

What evidence provides the strongest support for your argument?

What evidence provides the weakest support for your argument, or even opposes your argument?

How will you use this evidence to make an argument about your issue?

Step 5. Synthesis

  • You’re almost done! For the fifth step, it’s time to write down your argument. This is a summary of your final answer to your research question. Remember to include your position on the issue, describe the evidence you’ll use, and explain how this evidence supports your argument.
  • Summarize your argument in the touchstone template and be sure to include the main ideas that need to be communicated to your service organization. Make sure you’re answering the research question you identified in Step 1.

Summary effectively synthesizes the discoveries made during the critical thinking process.

Clearly and concisely summarizes an argument to the research question including a position, main ideas, and how evidence used will support their argument..Summarizes an argument to the research question including a position, main ideas, and how evidence used will support their argument.Summarizes an argument to the research question including a position and main ideas. Evidence may be identified but not how it will support an argument.Summarizes an argument to the research question including a position and main ideas, but does not identify evidence.Fails to summarize an argument or summarizes an argument that does not address the research question identified.

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