Opinions can be clearly seen when material is used for argument . An argument is a presentation or discussion in which disagreement is expressed. It can also be described as a position, or thesis. An argument will use facts, or evidence , to persuade people that it is based on the right opinion. Of course, an argument is generally very biased. For example, you may
Lesson 1, page 24 Canadian and World Issues CGW4U-A Copyright © 2007 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved. argue that India’s population is growing too fast and that it will eventually hurt the country’s economy. You may present data that shows how fast the population has increased over time, as well as demonstrate that there has been a slowing down in the economic well-being of the average Indian citizen. Others may argue that population growth adds strength to the workforce and to the size of the market. Perhaps the evidence can be used to show that a slowdown in the economy is due to global forces beyond India’s control. Three Kinds of Sources In this course, you will be asked to write paragraphs and essays on a variety of topics. You will make statements and draw conclusions based on supporting information that you find through research. How can you be sure that the information you use is sound and unbiased? If at all possible, take information from primary sources , or first-hand records of an event. They can include accounts by actual people involved, photographs, diaries, and newspaper items. A primary source for population data, for example, would be the data collected and reported on the population census. Population numbers gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau are as factual as technology and accurate counting can allow. Statistical data from government sources is generally sound. When summaries of primary data are put together, secondary sources of information are formed. For example, a piece about trends in Canadian tourism statistics by the World Tourism Organization, an agency of the UN, is an example of a secondary source. Tertiary sources of information, which are the product of writers or organizations using secondary interpretations in their presentations, may result in distortions. If you want to know about Canadian tourism, for instance, gather information from Statistics Canada, which actually collects the data. Your interpretation of the data then becomes a secondary source. If you use the World Tourism Organization’s interpretation, you may end up summarizing a summary and miss important details.
Copyright © 2007 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved. Canadian and World Issues CGW4U-A Lesson 1, page 25 Researching a Topic When compiling research on a topic, use primary sources as often as possible. Facts are indisputable. When you consult secondary and tertiary information, such as in an article in a journal, you need to distinguish between fact and opinion. Look for as many clues as you can to determine the reliability of the source. One
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