Writing to Become A More Effective Scholar Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Why Leaders Should be Excellent in Critical Thinking

Introduction

Critical inquiry in writing requires one to be able to gather, process, and assess ideas and assumptions from multiple angles and perspectives. It requires that one have a high degree of curiosity, as critical thought cannot be engaged without asking questions and seeking as much information from multiple sources as possible to answer those questions. The goal of critical inquiry is produce well-reasoned arguments that can lead to more questions, answers, and ways of looking at the world. This paper will discuss the major constructs of critical inquiry. The major constructs are: 1) epistemological virtues, 2) worldview, 3) constructing logical arguments, 4) wisdom, 5) critical reading and writing, and 6) empirical research. It will describe how the writer’s own ideas of critical inquiry have progressed as well as issues and questions this paper have inspired. Finally, it will offer up an example of how critical inquiry can make the writer a more effective leader.

The Constructs of Critical Inquiry

Analyzing the constructs of critical inquiry is a helpful way for understanding the process more fully. Each construct represents an element of critical inquiry that assists the writer in thinking deeply both about himself and the information with which he is engaging. The writer must be aware of both the internals and the externals—i.e., himself as a repository of information and beliefs, and the rest of the outside world which often offers up contrasting or conflicting pools of information and ideas.

Epistemological Virtues

The virtue of right thinking is what is meant by epistemological virtues (Halpern, 2014). Every individual is susceptible to his own thoughts, beliefs, impulses, prejudices, and ways of engaging with data. If he is in the habit of being fair towards others, his thinking will reflect this; if he is in the habit of being intolerant, inflexible, hasty and arrogant, these vices will also be reflected in his pattern of thought. In order to be virtuous in one’s thinking, one must have intellectual honesty, and that cannot be had unless it exists within one’s character (Wood, 1998). This is why Kristjansson (2014) has stressed the importance of character education rooted in Aristotelianism as the foundation of all true learning.

Worldview

Worldview refers simply to the way in which one looks at the world. One will be pre-disposed to have a philosophy of life, a framework that enables one to interpret the facts and findings that he gathers by way of his senses: this is his worldview (Sire, 2015). One’s worldview is important to consider and to discuss in one’s writing not only because it assists one in bracketing out bias but also because it informs the reader as to how the writer is engaging with the facts to be discussed. The more information the reader has regarding the writer’s own framework for analysis, the better able the reader will be to assess the writer’s report.

Constructing Logical Arguments

Constructing logical arguments refers to the writer’s ability to define a premise, build upon it, and arrive at a conclusion without contradicting himself or relying on assumptions that are unsupported or that invalidate the argument (Bryman, 2012). Arguments should always be logical in one’s writing; that is, the reader should be able to easily follow one argument to the next, one line of reasoning to the next line of reasoning, without difficulty. If the reader feels taxed by one’s arguments, the argument itself will appear to be weak and fallible and the writing will suffer as a result. To be persuasive, on must rely upon reason and logic. Every great transformational leader, for example, understands the importance of being able to explain to followers why a change is necessary in an organization: using reason and logic to justify the change wins more followers over to the leader’s side than any other method because human beings are fundamentally rational and interested in understanding why things are the way they are (Boa, 2007).

Wisdom

Wisdom is the understanding required to see holistically, comprehensively and truly. It requires the ability of using both inductive and deductive reasoning, of being able to intuit and infer. There is a spiritual component to wisdom that comes from meditation and contemplation. It is a quality of recollecting in peace without disturbance, of accepting the mystery without rejecting the use of reason or rushing to make an impulsive or erroneous error in one’s conclusions. As Nicolae, Ion and Nicolae (2013) point out, wisdom should be part of the spirit of leadership.

Critical Reading and Writing

Critical reading and writing depends upon one’s ability to think critically, that is to say to be curious about the world, to ask questions, and to gather information from varying sources. It requires setting aside bias and engaging with information in an objective manner. It requires a holistic approach to the world. To see things from one angle or side is not to be critical but rather to be limited. To read and to write critically means to discern shortcomings as well as positives. Critical reading and writing skills assist in the development of one’s own use of language (Swan, 2005).

Empirical Research

Empirical research is research that is evidence-based. It is typically quantitative in that it allows one to statistically represent data; however, qualitative research can also be empirical, though some argue that qualitative research tends to be more subjective than objective and thus less empirical than quantitative. Empirical research tends to begin with a hypothesis, which may be tested in a trial, and then evaluated (Bryman, 2012). Some empirical research may begin with a question only and then concluded with a hypothesis based on the evidence acquired. Empirical research builds on previous research, and so for example if one’s study concludes with a new hypothesis future research can test that hypothesis in a study of its own.

How the Writer’s Ideas of…

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…stagnant over time and that is the fault of a stagnant leader who never grows or develops.

The writer seeks to become a more powerful leader by being attentive to change, by understanding what changes are coming and how to prepare for them. Part of being an innovative leader is being at the forefront of change—i.e., instead of reacting to change, one is the proponent of change. One causes or triggers the changes that then impact an industry or a workplace.

Change should not be something arbitrarily pursued but rather something that makes an organization better. It is the same with personal change and growth. Changes that are made willy-nilly without critical thought are not necessarily going to have any positive or lasting effects. They may allow for exploration and provide data for self-reflection, but there should be purpose to change beyond this. Change should have a goal in mind. There should be a reason for change.

That is why understanding the role that logic and reason play in critical inquiry is so important as a leader. People want to know why they are doing things, why they are asked to make changes, and why the proposed change is going to be better for all stakeholders. If the why cannot be answered logically, there are not going to be any supporters of the change. Change is often difficult; it causes people to have to think differently about how they do things; it requires them to make mental or physical adjustments. People get into habits and routines and fly on autopilot on most days once they become accustomed to a particular way of life and work. Change disrupts all that. But change is necessary. If people and organizations do not change and grow, they wilt and die. Being the best possible leader means recognizing the fact that change is essential and that change has to be rooted in a solid understanding of one’s environment, what one is capable of doing, what needs to be done, what the information says is possible, and getting everyone to agree that this is the best way forward.

Conclusion

Leadership is something that no one can demonstrate effectively without the ability to engage in critical inquiry. Writing to be a scholar assists in the process of developing one’s critical inquiry skills by enabling one to think critically, to reflect on one’s own perspective and worldview, to develop the virtues necessary for honest assessment, to construct logical arguments, to exercise wisdom and to engage in empirical research. Each of these actions is essential for critical thought, and the ability to be a critical thinker assists in leadership. Leaders have to be able to explain to others why they are taking the path they are on. Followers want reasons and answers. If they are being asked to make changes, they want to know why. A leader who cannot give those answers is not going to be followed. A leader who lacks information and insight…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Adorno, T. & Horkheimer, M. (2007). The culture industry: Enlightenment as mass deception. Stardom and celebrity: A reader, 34.

Boa, K. (2007). Handbook to leadership. Atlanta, GA: Trinity House Publishers, Inc.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods 5th Edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Halpern, D. F. (2014). Thought and knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking, 5th edition. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Kristjánsson, K. (2014). There is Something About Aristotle: The Pros and Cons of A ristotelianism in Contemporary Moral Education. Journal of philosophy of education, 48(1), 48-68.

Nicolae, M., Ion, I., & Nicolae, E. (2013). The research agenda of spiritual leadership. Where do we stand? Review of International Comparative Management, 14(4), 551-566.

Sire, J. (2015) Naming the elephant: Worldview as a concept. Downers Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press.

Swan, M. (2005). Practical English usage. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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