Assumptions refer to the things that a researcher might take for granted in the research process, yet they are very important, as far as the success of the research is concerned. In this case, a researcher makes statements suggesting that certain elements of the study are factual, but in the real sense, they are not.
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In many studies, a researcher ensures that an assumption is made about the theory being investigated. Apart from the theory, the researcher makes assumptions about the phenomenon, the research instrument or tools, the method, data analysis method, the study population, and the outcome of the study. When a researcher writes the theoretical groundwork of the study, he or she assumes that the foundation is sound.
Based on the above description, assumptions would be understood as conventional cause and effect interaction, which means that they are estimates of the reality (Kirby, Goodpaster, & Levine, 1999). This is very different from critical thinking, which refers to objective assessment of statements underlying existing viewpoints with a view to measure their accuracy and authenticity. This process would authenticate or annul the beliefs.
Prior knowledge is one of the features associated with assumptions, which interferes with critical thinking. An individual is tempted to belief that he or she knows something because of the past encounter. This might encourage an individual to employ a defective strategy in tackling an issue. In critical thinking and problem solving processes, an individual must separate truth from inaccurate information.
Experience is another feature of assumptions, which might perhaps interfere with the decisions that an individual generates. Critical thinking helps people in realizing that experiences are not realities as far as current situations and events are concerned. Through critical thinking, an individual would use beliefs and experiences to shape the future. One of the major critical thinking strategies is related to proactive decision making whereby an individual is encouraged to employ certain theories or models when making decisions in life.
Fallacies and Critical Thinking
A fallacy refers to the set of ideas that do not have evidence. Analysts term fallacies as mistakes of reasoning whereby an individual would issue a statement that is not relevant. This means that the statement cannot be substantiated (Kirby, Goodpaster, & Levine, 1999). They are different from ordinary mistakes in a number of ways. For instance, an individual may count people and report a figure of twenty-five while in real sense the real number of people would be twenty-four.
This is a factual mistake implying that whoever was counting might have omitted one person. On the other hand, a fallacy entails somebody believing in something that has never occurred on earth or something that does not exist. This form of reasoning is inconsistent, given the fact that no proof can be given. Some scholars are of the view that a fallacy is an unwanted type of argument or inference since an individual cannot substantiate an argument.
In writing, fallacies are used in establishing topics or new areas of research. However, they should never be employed in writing academic papers. An individual is encouraged to avoid the use of fallacies in writing. If this cannot be achieved, an explanation of each fallacy should be given. One of the strategies employed to avoid fallacies in writing texts is the utilization of good premises. Moreover, giving a good conclusion is another strategy that would prevent the use of fallacies in the text.
Kirby, G. R., Goodpaster, J. R., & Levine, M. (1999). Critical thinking. Needham Heights, MA: Pearson Custom Pub.