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Knowledge and Skills Statement

Inquiry and research: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student engages in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes for a variety of purposes.

Provide students with text that includes faulty reasoning such as bandwagon appeals, repetition, or loaded language. Task students with identifying the faulty reasoning in the text.

Questions to Ask:

  • Where is the example of faulty reasoning in the ad?
  • Do you think it enhances the ad or is detrimental?
  • Do you believe what the ad is saying? Explain your reasoning.

Further Explanation

This assessment provides an opportunity for the teacher to observe students’ understanding of how a text might incorporate faulty reasoning to attempt to justify a position or interpret the facts. Students should look for faulty reasoning as they examine sources to use as support for their own conclusions.

a rhetorical fallacy that indicates a form of faulty reasoning used to appeal to the “everyone is doing it” mentality
Students should be able to review sources for a research project to determine if they are valid references for gathering supporting or clarifying information. Students should review a source by considering the objectivity of their information. Examining sources typically requires students to do some research on the source itself to determine if it should be used. Students might need to determine the reputation a source has among peers in that field; consider the consistency of previously provided information or documentations (e.g., has the source been proven wrong or questioned regularly?); and determine if there are any affiliations between the source and parties who may benefit from the source’s presenting the facts in a certain way.
As students work to determine the strength of an identified source, they should be aware of a source’s use of faulty reasoning to justify a position or interpretation of the facts. If sources use exaggeration beyond what data can support; reflects emotionally loaded language to skew, dismiss, or overemphasize the findings of the data; and/or attempts to categorize something without considering nuance, the source is likely not presenting the facts accurately. Faulty reasoning could be intentional if the source’s goal is to benefit from a misrepresentation of facts, or it could be unintentional due to the source’s lack of understanding of how to interpret the facts in a clear and valid way. In either case, students should know to look for faulty reasoning as they examine sources to use in support of their own conclusions.
words, terms, or phrases that have strong emotional overtones or connotations and are meant to influence and appeal to an audience by evoking negative or positive emotional reactions that extend beyond the literal meaning of word or phrase


Kinsey, B., & Comerchero, V. A. (2012). Language in style: Formal language and tone.  Communique, 41(1), 37. Retrieved from

Summary: Kinsey and Comerchero discuss the use of language. Topics include redundancy, word choice, and words that reflect and/or imply assumptions, beliefs, and biases. Words that trigger emotions are included as a part of the discussion. The overall emphasis in this article is the formal writing style and its function. The writing style should be formal. The article provides examples of how word choice and the sequence of words significantly change meaning.