Evaluate the arguments of others

What is an evaluation?

When you evaluate sources and arguments, you judge their quality, value or significance. You consider their strengths and limitations with respect to the examination you are undertaking or to a particular context.

Evaluation requires you to ask questions such as:

  • What are the strengths and limitations of the source or argument?
  • How well are the claims supported by reasons and evidence?
  • What claims need further investigation?
  • How does the quality of one source or argument compare with others that address a similar topic?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?
  • What is your overall assessment of the source or argument?

Evaluation is supported by analysis. Analysis allows you to break your sources into their component parts and see how they work. Evaluation then assesses the component parts as well as the entire source, and makes a judgement about their quality, value or significance. Without analysis, evaluation can easily become biased or flawed.

The ability to evaluate is a key critical thinking skill. Evaluating arguments made by others will improve your own critical thinking and allow you to develop stronger and more refined arguments.

How to evaluate sources, arguments, evidence and methodologies