Assignment Question: Comparing the Credibility of two Sources
Background: In the news item headlined Tanning bed danger disputed; study finds risk of cancer is high (see link below), Patrick Smith and John Kraus disagree about whether recent studies by IARC (The International Agency for Research on Cancer) demonstrate that the use of tanning beds can cause cancer. IARC is part of the World Health Organiztion, or WHO.
Question: Compare the credibility of Smith and Kraus as sources of the claim that recent studies by IARC show that the use of tanning beds can cause cancer. In your answer: begin by stating clearly the claim at issue and who the sources are; address each aspect of credibility (opportunity, ability and dependability), explicitly stating your conclusion about which source fares better on each of the three aspects of credibility; and end your assessment with an overall judgment about which source is the more credible source of the claim at issue.
Tips: Although each of the sources make several claims in the news report, your task is to focus your answer exclusively on the claim identified in italics in this question. Read the Self-Evaluation checklist on the last page of this assignment for further guidelines, and for advice about how to organize your answer.
Maximum length is 500 words.
Use this checklist as a guide to any revisions that may be necessary to your answer.
You’ve identified accurately and expressed clearly the claim about which Smith and Kraus disagree. (Since the claim was given to you in the assignment, that should be easy. Just write, The claim Smith and Kraus disagree about is whether recent studies by IARC show that the use of tanning beds can cause cancer. There is no need to reword this.)
You’ve discussed the three aspects/dimensions of credibility of Smith and Kraus:
a. opportunity to discover the truth of the claim (not the ability to state the claim)
b. ability to make a judgement about the claim
c. dependability of the source
Furthermore, your comparison of all three dimensions of credibility (opportunity, ability, dependability) is explicit. This requires using the terms opportunity, ability, and dependability. The best way to organize your answer in a way that provides an explicit comparison of each aspect of credibility is to compare the opportunity of Smith and Kraus in one paragraph; the ability of Smith and Kraus in another paragraph; and the dependability of the Smith and Krauss in a third paragraph. At the beginning of each of those paragraphs, state your conclusion about the aspect or dimension of credibility you are discussing in that paragraph.
Opportunity, abililty, and dependability are not confused with one another. (E.g. when you claim to be discussing opportunity, you do not instead discuss the source’s credentials, which are more likely to be an aspect of the source’s ability.).
Your judgements about each of the three dimensions of credibility are backed up with relevant and sufficient reasoning.
Your conclusion about which source is more credible is clearly stated: e.g. X is the more credible source.
Your conclusion about who is the more credible source of the claim is consistent with your conclusions about which source has more opportunity, ability, and dependability.
You do NOT discuss whether you agreed or disagreed with the claim, or whether the claim is true. (That wouldnt be relevant here.)
You do NOT discuss whether or not the evidence for the claim is good.
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