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Being logical

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It is important that the logic of your interpretation is clear. Look at the following extract from a student report:

It is interesting to note who responded to the question I asked. Student A is the highest achiever in the class. This seems to indicate that such students are more likely to use deep processing. Student B, although not a high achiever, is an enthusiastic student and enjoys attention. This shows that students' personalities also affect the way they learn, which I believe is proof that the various learning approaches are interdependent.

Look at the comment about Student A.

In what way does the fact that "Student A is the highest achiever in the class" seem to indicate "that such students are more likely to use deep processing"?


Look at the comment about Student B.

How does Student B's response show that personality is also important in learning?


Notice the confidence with which the writer makes her interpretation. She states that "This shows the students' personalities affect the way they learn".

What is the basis of this confidence?



The writer doesn't make this clear. The writer herself states that a response may be due to other factors (Student B's response, she says, is due to his personality, not "deep processing"). Therefore, why should we read Student A's response as an indication of "deep processing"? This needs to be made clear.


This is also unclear. Possibly the writer is assuming that this student cannot be using "deep processing", and therefore decides his response could be a consequence of his enthusiasm and need for attention. However, these are assumptions, with no attempt to show why this interpretation is a reasonable one.


Presumably the writer does feel sure that personality is an important factor in learning. However, that it explains this observation is purely an intuition on her part. The problem evident here is a fairly common one, and one which you need to guard against: Do not allow your intuitions to go beyond what you can reasonably support. If your reader does not share your intuition, your interpretation will appear arbitrary.
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