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Strategies for investigating text

Tools for Thought (T4T) is an online collection of lesson plans and support materials that introduce students to a wide range of critical thinking tools. Many of these lessons are useful in supporting students to investigate the briefing sheets in the Background Briefs collection.

Freely available

Inference Forming a new conclusion based solely on what is already known

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A print version of this collection is available for purchase.

  • Analyze similarities and differences: Examining similarities and differences and identifying those that are significant
  • Assembling evidence: Organizing evidence to create an effective argument
  • Assessing the evidence: Judging the adequacy of evidence offered to support a conclusion
  • Cause/consequence: Identifying the factors or circumstances that cause something to happen and the consequent results or impact on future events
  • Clarify a problem: Identifying the information necessary to clarify and define a problem
  • Connecting facts to conclusions: Writing well-structured paragraphs that organize facts to support an overall conclusion
  • Consider significance: Examining the impact of a historical event and judge its relative significance
  • Evidence/reason/conclusion: The elements of an argument or justification used to persuade someone to adopt a position
  • Explore options: Generating new options to solve a problem
  • Finding another perspective: Finding another perspective: Actively seek alternative perspectives to enhance understanding of an issue
  • Imagining "what if?": Deepening understanding of an event, concept or problem by imaging how things might be different if a key feature was altered or removed
  • Impact timeline: Identifying relevant and significant events, creating an informative time scale and visually representing the sequence, span and impact of events
  • Inquiry-minded: Not taking everything at face value and being inclined to inquire into matters and explore unanswered questions
  • Oral rebuttals/counter arguments: Preparing an argument in opposition to the reasons of another argument
  • Organizing supporting details: Choosing appropriate graphic organizers to arrange information
  • Paraphrasing research: Rewriting research findings in their own words
  • Previewing: Anticipating the content of text to create a mindset for reading
  • Raising doubts: Learning how to be skeptical when presented with information
  • Rate the decision: Reaching a conclusion about the integrity of a decision, based on specified criteria
  • Relevant details: Selecting the information or facts that are significant or useful for a specific research question and purpose
  • Research questions: Preparing effective questions to guide research
  • State the problem: Creating a problem statement and judge its quality using specific criteria
  • Uncover the issues: Identifying the key stakeholders, interests, and issues involved in a situation or research topic