Identifiying Generalization

Posted: November 14, 2010 in Research Papers

In this unit you will learn how to identify generalizations, a critical reading skill that is closely related to identifying opinion. In act, many opinions are generalizations. Generalizations are conclusions about whole groups drawn from knowledge of individual cases. Suppose you choose to spend your vacation in a small village called Bayah. During your stay you occasionally dropped by tasted terrible. Later you told your friends that everything about Bayah was great expect the coffee: Bayah coffee is awful. What have you done? You have made a generalization. From a few visits you drew the conclusion that the coffee in Bayah is no good.
We have expressed an opinion as well. Most generalization are opinions are generalizations. If we say, “We love reds shoes,” we have stated an opinion, not a generalization. But if we say, “ All women love red shoes,” we have expressed both an opinion and a generalization. Since generalization are also opinions they are distinguished from acts the same way opinions.

In other words, like other statements of opinion, generalizations need to be supported by facts. To make audience believe a generalization about all people, the author must show that he has examined many people, not just one or two or even none at all. If he doesn’t do this, he has made a hasty generalization. Thus, a hasty generalization is a generalization which is not supported by enough evidence for the readers to believe it.

We have just learned that for generalizations to be accepted they must have actual proof. In everyday life, however, it would be very formal, boring and maybe annoying if we always try to give scientific proof for our statements, or always require proof others. In informal situations outside the world of science we can be less strict about acceptability. We can consider


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