For 6.11.18

Explain the McAfee article from the perspective of his research question

“… what’s the relevant knowledge? What’s the mix of specific knowledge and general knowledge required to make this decision well?”

  • Prepare to read McAfee as a research problem
  • Outline the article as it contributes to the understanding of his research problem

I. Identify McAfee’s research question as the problem you will need to address

  • Go to the end of the article, find the research question (above), and read enough of the paragraphs before and after to understand what he thinks is the big deal
  • Warm up to the idea: write a short paragraph discussing where you have seen such questions before

II. Examine Research Questions as both practical and conceptual problems

Skim Chapter 3 of The Craft of Research, “From Topics to Questions,” then re-read passages you might find helpful to understand the difference between practical and conceptual problems as you will find in this three part formulation

  1. what you are writing about—I am working on the topic of . . .
  2. what you don’t know about it—because I want to find out . . .
  3. why you want your reader to know and care about it—in order to help my reader understand better . . .

Use this formula in its three parts to write three sentences explaining McAfee’s research question

III. Understand the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning

Wrap your head around the following distinction

Reading forwards (Inductive Reason)

During the past weeks, you have been invited to map the presentation from start to finish and as a sequence of moves — first he does this, then he does that — to the end of outlining the text’s elements and developing a general understanding, like this:

  1. Observation
  2. Pattern
  3. Tentative Hypothesis
  4. Theory

Reading backwards (Deductive Reason)

For the next weeks, I am inviting you to look for the organizing principle, the issue that engages the writer and what he wants us to understand and take away, and how this organizes the text’s logic, design, and rhetoric, like this

  1. Theory
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Observation
  4. Confirmation

IV. Following the Steps for Better Thinking

Review briefly the following “prompts” might be relevant to the McAfee article

  • Identify and exploit the relevant “task prompts”
  • List the pieces of information … what do we learn about the business and McAfee’s interest, approach
  • Recite arguments/Compare the arguments … what is Sull’s argument and what is McAfee’s
  • Explain why people disagree about … Where does McAfee disagree, why, and on what evidence?
  • Create a list of issues … what are the issues?
  • Discuss the strengths an weaknesses of evidence … where does McAfee think Sull went wrong?
  • Identify and discuss the implications of your own experiences and preferences for how you think about … the issues in this article
  • Prepare and defend a solution to … how does McAfee defend his argument?
  • How differently do you now think about these issues, how has this article changed your understanding (in your field)

V. Using the “For 6.11.18 Template”, outline McAfee