Critical Thinking - Unit 3

HideShow resource information


Questions 1 and 2 Possible Questions

Suggest and briefly explain two weaknesses in using document 1 as evidence / to support / to inform … (6 marks)

2 marks:   Clear explanation of a significant and specific weakness.

1 mark: For relevant reference to the documents.

  • FOREST has a vested interest to oppose the proposed policy, because its purpose is “to champion the rights of smokers”, so it cannot be expected to present a fair or balanced view.
  • The last sentence of the paragraph is a straw person (credit slippery slope argument), which ignores the important difference between selecting people to become foster parents and interfering in natural reproduction and parenthood.
  • FOREST tries to influence readers by means of emotive language, such as “demonise”, “separate” and “insidious” rather than by rational argument.
  • FOREST’s description of some smokers as potentially “excellent foster carers” begs the question, because their opponents would deny that smokers could be excellent foster carers.
  • Depending on their age, children may not be capable of thinking the issue through sufficiently to form a valid opinion, which seriously limits the usefulness of this survey (or these surveys).
  • If the second sentence is intended to be understood as the evidence for the first sentence, the question asked is not the same and does not justify the summary in the first sentence.
  • The sample surveyed in the second sentence (a total of 17 children) is too small to provide reliable information about opinion.

        Because the activity which is being measured is illegal (described as “fraud” and “theft”), it is impossible to obtain reliable statistics. So the figures given in both documents to indicate the scale of the problem are unreliable.

        Both documents come from a Government department (Department of Work and Pensions). The Government has a vested interest in exaggerating the scale of the problem, in order to encourage people to take action about it.

        Document 2 conflates “benefit theft” and “benefit fraud”. It is not clear whether these are the same thing or subtly different.

        Document 1 begs the question when stating that investigators “cross-check the bank accounts of benefit thieves”. Presumably the checking is to discover whether they are benefit thieves or not.

        It is unclear from whom benefit thieves are stealing. Document 1 accuses them of stealing from “law-abiding taxpayers” and “public funds”, but Document 2 says they are “taking money from those who need it most” (which probably means genuine claimants).

        The claim in Document 2 that benefit thieves are “taking money from those who need it most” appears to imply that levels of benefit would be increased if all claims were genuine, but this is unlikely to be the case.

        Both documents use rhetorical language (such as “picking pockets”) in order to persuade readers to inform on people they know who are cheating the benefit system.

·         The evidence in para 2 from “countries where IVF is regularly given to women…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Critical Thinking resources:

See all Critical Thinking resources »See all Critical Thinking - Unit 3 resources »