Perpetual Analyzer
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The Perpetual Analyzer has solid reasoning skills that allow him to draw logical conclusions within a given perspective, but cannot prioritize factors that apply across solution options or perspectives.1

Key Indicators

Overall approach to open-ended problems:

  • Proceeds as if goal is to establish a detached, balanced view of evidence and information from different points of view

Major improvements over Biased Jumper:

  • Presents coherent and balanced description of a problem and the larger context in which it is found
  • Identifies issues, assumptions, and biases associated with multiple perspectives
  • Attempts to control own biases
  • Logically and qualitatively evaluates evidence from different view points
  • Organizes information meaningfully

Common weaknesses:

  • Unable to establish priorities for judging across alternatives
  • Reluctant to select and defend a single overall solution as most viable, or selects a solution but unable to express adequate support for its superiority over other solutions
  • Writes overly long paper in attempt to demonstrate all aspects of analysis (problems with prioritizing)
  • Jeopardizes class discussions by getting stuck on issues such as definitions

Approach to Reasoning

The Perpetual Analyzer is capable of understanding problems in a very complex way and can talk about how different facets of a problem lead to its complexity. He is aware of his own limitations and biases in understanding a problem, and he understands others' viewpoints, too. He begins to understand how experts come to their conclusions via evidence and perspective. He believes that different viewpoints result from interpretations of information within individual perspectives, and he can qualitatively interpret evidence from different perspectives. For example, he can analyze the assumptions that underpin the views of different people regarding the safety of genetically modified foods and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of related research evidence.

Although the Perpetual Analyzer's reasoning skills allow him to draw logical conclusions within a given perspective, his greatest difficulty is in prioritizing factors that apply across solution options or perspectives. This often causes him to be reluctant to select and defend a single overall solution as most viable. He may select a solution but be unable to articulate adequate support for its superiority over other solutions. Thus, he has a tendency to get stuck in the process of analyzing and exploring the problem.

Mental Blocks

Before the Perpetual Analyzer can begin applying critical thinking skills, they must overcome the following biases:

  • Endorsing one alternative denies the legitimacy of other alternatives
  • Problem solutions may be justified only within a given context or from a given perspective, making it very difficult to endorse and justify a solution as the best alternative
  • There are no overarching criteria by which to choose among competing evidence-based interpretations or solutions
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