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UGS 303: Playing and Writing / Lynn

Explore viewpoints within a topic

It is really easy to find people that agree with you...

But really difficult to find viewpoints that are opposed to our own. This can be for a couple reasons:

  1. Confirmation bias - this is when we test out a hypothesis in a one-sided way (as in searching: 'was 9/11 a hoax?')
  2. Selective exposure - this is when we show a tendency to pay attention to information that supports our current beliefs

Even when we try really hard to avoid these tendencies, we still don't know how to search for opposing viewpoints because we don't know about those viewpoints and how people talk about them.

Think beyond pro/con on an issue - there are many reasons someone might oppose something or support it.

Explore topics in encyclopedias

Example Topic Exploration Process

For your next paper, you have to investigate an area of your life about which you are passionate and relate it to class discussion about the anthropology of play - you need to find sources that support your argument about this topic, and at least one source that disagrees with your argument.

Example topic - this is an idea that I'm exploring; it is not a thesis statement.

  • comparison of importance of prayer or mediation in school versus physical education or recess (I learned all this in Wikipedia!) 
    • Some people think prayer or meditation in school leads to healthy moral development
      • Some people think it promotes the majority religion, interfering with those who do not practice the majority religion
    • Some people think that recess or PE in school is important to social development
      • Some people think recess and PE take time away from academics, impacting test scores
    • What do I think? (I don't know until I read all the evidence)

What next steps would I take?

  • I like to read a variety of encyclopedia articles - each of these wikipedia articles was very brief - I want deeper discussion and more sources to explore - I would search Gale EBooks or Credo and then try searches in article databases
  • As I read about various viewpoints, I want to record keywords that get at the heart of disagreements. What words do folks use on either side on an argument? 

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