BS105 Business Communications
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What is critical thinking, according to the unit content?
- Rational thought process
- Evaluation of information
- Making sound judgements
- Empathy - see writer's point of view
- Openness to all possibilities
- Essential to good research and writing
What is critical thinking, according to researchers?
- Defending yourself against too much information & too many points of view. (Pinto 2003)
- Informed disobedience, but not wilful ignorance. (James, Hughes, Cappa 2010)
- Synthesis of attitude, logic, reflection, and beliefs. (Thurmond 2001)
- Analysis, reflection and evaluation of data or research. (Scriven & Paul 2003)
What transformations occur due to critical thinking?
- Belief ---> Deduction
- Guess ---> Estimate
- Preference ---> Evaluation
- Inference ---> Logical Inference
- Grouping ---> Classification
- Noting Relationship ---> Noting Relationships
- Supposing ---> Hypothesising
- Judgement ---> Informed Judgement
- No Reasons ---> Reasons
What abilities does a critical thinker have?
- Thinking independently
- Developing insight into egocentricity / sociocentricity
- Exercising fair-mindedness
- Exploring thoughts & underlying feelings
- Developing intellectual humility
- Suspending judgement
- Developing intellectual courage
What strategies demonstrate critical thinking?
- Refining generalisations / over-simplifications
- Transferring insights to new contexts
- Clarifying issues, conclusions & beliefs
- Clarifying & analysing word & phrase meaning
- Developing criteria for evaluation
- Evaluating source credibility
- Questioning deeply
What are the features of a critical thinker's writing?
- Content: Dedicated to presenting an argument
- Sense of Audience: Communicates to a consistent audience
- Clarity: Simple language; Facts & theories; Lack of emotion
- Analysis: Strengths & weaknesses; judgements & conclusions clear
- Selection: Only most important points
- Sequence: Points ordered by importance
- Best Order: Logical flow so that argument makes sense
- Group similar points: Discuss related points logically
- Signposting: Use language to provide roadmarkers for direction and line of argument
List some common fallacies.
- Straw Man
- False Dichotomy
- Circular Reasoning
- Argument by Analogy
- Appeal to Authority
- Ad Hominem
What are the 4 strategies for acquiring understanding?
- 1. Prior Knowledge (PL)
- 2. Background Reading
- 3. Building Vocabulary
- 4. Deconstructing Texts
(1) What 3 questions inform us of our prior knowledge?
- What do you already know?
- What have you read?
- What related concepts interest you?
(2) A common strategy to begin research into a foreign topic is background reading. What sources are acceptable for uni-level background reading?
- Introductory journal articles
- Specialist news articles
- Industry magazines
- Broad, topic-covering, books
(3) What 3 types of vocabulary should be recorded and periodically reviewed?
- General vocabulary
- Discipline-specific vocabulary
- Unfamiliar words
(3) What 5 things should you remember while you build your reading ability?
- Take notes in notes and vocab journals
- Seek main ideas, and distinguish them from supporting ideas
- Critically analyse the arguments made
- Note communication styles
- Extend reading time while concentration holds, gradually increasing it
(4) What are the features of the reading structure SQ3R?
Survey - Review text from headings, abstracts, introductions, tables of contents, keywords, subject terms.
Question - Generate questions about the text.
Read - While doing so, seek answers to those questions generated above.
Recite - Rehearse answers to those questions and make notes.
Review - Check for integrity of answers and seek answers to any lingering questions.
(4) What 3 strategies can be used to ensure effective reading?
Exercise Awareness - Make use of best environment, stop when concentration wanes.
Reflect on Affect - How does this contribute to my learning? How can it be used?
Make Decisions - What helps to fulfil my needs? Read only important sections, but ensure that you read them comprehensively.
What are the 7 stages, in order, of the Research Cycle?
- 1. Analyse Topic Question
- 2. Brainstorm the Topic
- 3. Define Keywords
- 4. Search
- 5. Evaluate Information
- 6. Communicate your Findings
- 7. Return to Beginning when Necessary
What 4 questions should be repeatedly asked when Searching?
- What search string should I use?
- Where should I search?
- Was my previous search effective?
- How can I improve upon it?
The keyword tracking sheet (KTS) allows you to answer these questions. What 3 things does the KTS do to aid Searching?
- Imposes reflection
- Avoids backtracking
- Applies direction
- ---> But allow for 'serendipity' in results
What are 5 sources of information to potentially be used in research? Give Pros and Cons for each.
Books: Good depth; Scholarly. BUT quickly outdated; Possibly expensive.
Journals: More up to date; Scholarly. BUT lack of depth due to space constraints; Possibly expensive.
Magazines: Extremely current; Niche magazines useful; BUT possibility for editorial bias; Superficial.
Newspapers: Extremely current; Niche papers useful; BUT local focus may lose sight of big picture; Over-politicised.
Websites: Always current; Most important entities have them; BUT not academic; Often unreliable.
What 8 questions should you ask when evaluating sources?
- How useful is it to my research?
- How reliable is it?
- What angle is adopted?
- Who is the author?
- Who is the publisher?
- How recently was it published?
- What is the author's point of view?
- Why was it published?
What are the 3 underlying skills of academic writing?
- Typing - especially touch typing
- Supporting resources - with general materials
- ICT literacy - skill in commonly-used programmes.
What are 4 common applications of academic writing?
- Literature Reviews
- Business Reports
What are the 4 types of essays? How should the word count be structured?
- Descriptive: Display knowledge
- Analytical: Apply critical thinking to a proposition
- Combination: Display & Critique
- Research: Conduct research and make argument, including the opinions of experts to synthesis own ideas
- 1. Abstract
- 2. Introduction (10%)
- 3. Body (80%)
- 4. Conclusion (10%)
- 5. References / Bibiliography
What are the 3 characteristics of an academic essay?
- They make clear position statements.
- They defend their positions with logical argumentation.
- The arguments are supported by evidence.
Resarching & Info. Management
and the Argument
What are the 7 differences between an essay and a business report?
- Purpose: Define problem & recommend a solution
- Structure: Defined but variable
- Comm. Style: Short, concise
- Abstract: Always present (exec. summary)
- Figures: Always used
- Writer: Group-based
- Audience: Specific group, varies
What are the 5 general attributes of a business report?
- Clear in style & presentation
- Literate & flowing
- Predictable, so that info. can be derived easily
- Accurate & believable
What are the 5 sections of a typical business report?
- 1. Executive Summary
- 2. Introduction
- 3. Findings & Discussion
- 4. Conclusion
- 5. Recommendations
Headings & tables of contents are usually used. Headings provided by brief, ordered according to the brief, and consistently formatted.
What are the features of the Executive summary?
- Critical; sometimes the only part read
- Written last
- Includes why, how, what, major findings, analysis, conclusion and recommendations
What are the features of the Introduction?
- Orientation statement
- State purpose
- Note assumptions, context, scope, methodology and limitations
- Written penultimately
What are the features of the Findings & Discussion?
- Factual outline
- Basis of conclusions and recommendations
- Analysis of findings
- Longest section
- Honest reflection
- Always recognise deficiencies in methodology
- Present findings in graphical format
What are the features of the Conclusion?
- Issues raised
What are the features of the Recommendations?
- What should be done?
- Who should act?
- Timeframe for action
- Actions can be grouped and listed
- Consistent structure across recommendations
What things should you remember when using figures and statistical representation in business reports?
- Usage more important than in essays
- Included mostly in findings to represent data
- Conventions highly discipline-specific
- Presentation should be consistent and figures should be numbered.
- Structure same as essay - a point per paragraph, with topic sentence. Conform to expectations.
- Careful task planning
- Develop conclusion and recommendations last
- Define sections and build on them - each task plays a different role
- Support essential - will mostly be found in 'back matter'
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