Critical Thinking I: Exercises


Author: Ed Nelson 
Department of Sociology M/S SS97
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740
© The Author, October 2020.

Exercise text file - download and save in MS Word format.

These exercises were written to accompany a course in critical thinking. Everything starts with a question so it's important to be able to formulate good questions. The exercises are divided into five sections.

  • The scientific approach which is one way to answer our questions and the approach that we use in these exercises.
  • Argumentation which focuses on writing, analyzing, and evaluating arguments that use premises to support our conclusion.
  • Causal arguments which discuss formulating and testing causal arguments using experimental design and survey design.
  • How to use survey design to test causal claims. These exercises use the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS) and a statistical program, Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA), which was written at UC Berkeley. Both the GSS and SDA are freely available wherever you have an internet connection. There is a brief introduction to SDA at the end of these exercises.
  • Common errors in critical thinking.

There are several ways you could utilize these exercises. Each of the exercises is independent of the other exercises which means that you could pick and choose whichever exercises you want to use. Or you could use the exercises in their entirety.

You may want to add to or delete from materials within these exercises. You have permission to make changes, addtions, and deletions as you think best. All I ask is that you cite the original source.