Critical Thinking - Preparation for the Debates

Identify the parties: name the people or groups involved and, if relevant, their position and relationship with each other.
Briefly list the relevant facts: Leave out pointless detail and most anything on opinions and attitude. Do not analyse or make a judgement.
Define the dilemma: a dilemma is a question about the "right-or-wrong"-ness of an act that has been performed or may be. This is usually phrased as a question. Again, don't analyse or make a judgement yet.
Formulate the options: - all the options, including ones you disagree with. An option has two parts. First is an ethical interpretation of what has occurred and how the situation now stands. Second, there may be options as to what course of action to take. We still don't analyse or make a judgement.
Highlight the values: values are the principles and rights that create the dilemma and that we use to choose between options. (E.g. "Hacking into the power company is an invasion of privacy.") We start to analyse here.
Prioritize values, select option, give rationale: weigh up conflicting values and decide which ones get precedence. Choose an option from those given above and explain why you choose that one and not another.

Last updated 98/10/07
From Paul-Michael Agapow, incidental doctoral candidate (La Trobe University, Australia).