What are the author’s qualifications and biases on this topic?

Joel Best’s, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists

Critical review should touch on the items noted (following). Your task in writing this critique is to evaluate fairly, yet be discerning. Your evaluation is the core of the critique. Formulate a thesis that states your evaluation position and develop that throughout the review. The critique will be evaluated based on the following:

• Full citation and introduction
• Thesis statement (yours!) and how it will be supported.
• Body of the critique (item bullets below), including statements of how this work is related to a social research methods course.
• Conclusion (yours!) that reminds reader of your critique position

First, consider biographical and professional information about the author:
• Is the author living?
• What other works has the author written?
• What are the author’s qualifications and biases on this topic?
• Is the author affiliated with any organization that might espouse a particular point of view?
• Is the author affiliated with a college, university, government agency, political group, and/or industry?

Second, identify the author’s main ideas and points:
• What is the thesis?
• What are the main points and how well are they made?
• What assumptions underlie the author’s argument(s)?
• Has the author overlooked important points, or failed to consider important evidence?
• Are the author’s conclusions valid?
• Is there any additional subject or point that you wish the author had addressed?

Third, comment on stylistic components of the work:
• Regarding clarity, organization and language, how well is the work written?
• Do stylistic or rhetorical features affect the source’s content?

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