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The Research and Evaluation Process

By Denis Korn

Having taught college philosophy courses in Critical Thinking, I am aware of the evaluation process most folks use in researching various subjects. I teach students to consider the three "E's" in their practice: Evaluate - Embrace - Embody. Evaluation is earnest and appropriate research with discernment and reasoning. To embrace that which you have evaluated requires prudent judgment and sensible critical thinking skills, combined with a little healthy intuition. Embodiment is the hard part. It takes discipline and a strong will to incorporate your carefully considered decisions into your thoughts, attitude, and actions. I believe understanding and making use of these three steps in the evaluation process will aid you in your research of preparedness and outdoor products and advice.

Essentially there are two attitudes available to you when you do research into preparedness planning - or most research for that matter. One attitude is the desire for discovery and to find out something new and hopefully valuable in your pursuit of knowledge and truth. The other attitude is the search for validation for what you presume to be true or at least to confirm what you already believe.

With optimistic expectations you seek knowledge and information - ideally with the suggestions given above - to discover the truthfulness and accuracy of information that will help you in your decision making process - or you seek information that tells you how justifiable your decisions are that you have already made.

In the first case you are not necessarily influenced or biased with prior details or another opinion. In the second case, while there is no inherent problem with prior information that is appropriate, accurate, and reliable, there exists the human dilemma - the tendency to disregard that which is in conflict or disagreement with what you have already identified as correct and factual. Once you have accepted information as fact, it is more difficult to evaluate new information objectively.

In the second case be extra vigilant and aware of your prior judgments and their accuracy if they conflict with new information. Prior data could in fact be reliable or perhaps faulty and inaccurate. Understand clearly how you came to the conclusions and assessments you embraced. Good discernment skills are essential in these situations.

Proper planning for emergencies and outdoor adventure is new and challenging for many people, and so you are encouraged to be conscientious and thorough. Your decisions can affect your security, health or even your survival.

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