Would You Rather? Evidence Selection Activity
vaccine hesitancy, science, education
The Would You Rather? Evidence Selection Activity asks students to select between two pieces of evidence to support a given claim, on the basis of a single qualitative criterion for the effective use of evidence. It practices and develops students’ ability to (a) evaluate evidence based on very fine distinctions, and (b) apply with intentionality specific criteria for assessing the relative utility and effectiveness of evidence to support a claim, main idea, position, conclusion, theory, interpretation, or solution.
The debatable question for this argument-centered lesson is:
Can education and communication strategies overcome Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy and ensure that enough Americans get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus?
In Would You Rather? students are paired with their team-partner. They start by each selecting one of the two pieces of evidence listed as options A and B for each Would You Rather? question. They then choose whether they would rather use evidence A or evidence B to support the posited argumentative claim, advancing the posited position, for each question. Each question asks students to focus on a single qualitative criterion for the effective use of evidence in your selection – precise alignment, factuality, credibility, sufficiency, or strength of reasoning. Students should justify their Would You Rather? evidence selection in 3 – 5 full sentences, making sure that they explain why the evidence you chose is preferable to the alternative based on the specified criterion.
After being given time to complete their Would You Rather? selections and justifications, they discuss their responses with each other. To take into account the possibility that this conversation might change their Would You Rather? choice or justification, they can add additional comments in their justification section, though they should not delete anything that you wrote initially – the results of these discussions should only be additive on the document that they will turn in for formative assessment.
Practice and develop students’ ability to (a) evaluate evidence based on very fine distinctions, and (b) apply with intentionality specific criteria for assessing the relative utility and effectiveness of evidence to support a claim, main idea, position, conclusion, theory, interpretation, or solution.
LESSON ENDS WITH...
The common, cross-departmental criteria for the effective use of evidence used by Argument-Centered Education are: precision of alignment, factuality, credibility, sufficiency, and strength of reasoning.
Precision of alignment refers to how tightly the evidence and the claim are aligned. This goes beyond the “relevance” of the evidence and asks students to look for a more exacting match.
Factuality refers to how fact-based and objective the evidence is, how well grounded it is in the real, observable, empirical. Opinions, conclusions, assertions, even testimonials – these may occasionally have their place as evidence, but they move away from this particular criterion for evidence effectiveness.
Credibility has two sub-criteria. External credibility refers to the reliability, reputation, stature, and expertise of the source of the evidence. It is the more commonly understood meaning of credibility in this context. Internal credibility refers the logic and coherence, the backing and analytical depth, within the evidence itself. How well does the evidence hold together, is a way to think of this sub-criterion.
Sufficiency refers to whether there is enough evidence presented to be convincing to the average intended audience member.
Since reasoning or warranting of evidence is always an essential function in the use of evidence in an argument, this criterion refers to the arguer’s justification of their evidence as substantiation of the claim, the arguer’s own contribution to the impact of their evidence.