Chapter Eleven: Research as an Inferential and Critical Process / Relating the Conceptual and the Concrete

Chapter Eleven Objectives

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Much of this chapter deals with constructing cohesive arguments. In “Research as an Inferential and Critical Process,” we discuss how inferences allow us to move from one thought to another; they are the pathways by which thinking occurs.

In “Relating the Conceptual and the Concrete,” we return to our analogy between argumentative writing and law by focusing on how to use deductive logic to make your case. A good detective or lawyer alternates between the conceptual and concrete, just as you should in your research project. Deductive logic uses syllogisms, which are three-part structures that tell us what to think about a specific case (person, place, thing, group, event, etc.).

Learning Objectives

Keep the detective analogy in mind as you work through this chapter. Much like a detective, researchers use deductive, inductive, and abductive logic to make sense of their material. The most important lessons you will learn are to

  • ask critical questions
  • note claims that follow from a given proposition (or statement of facts)


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Strategies for Conducting Literary Research Copyright © 2021 by Barry Mauer & John Venecek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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