Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Section - Passage Types

What Is the Content of the Passages?

Passages in the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section are excerpted from the kinds of books, journals, and magazines that college students are likely to read. Passages from the social sciences and humanities disciplines might present interpretations, implications, or applications of historical accounts, theories, observations, or trends of human society as a whole, specific population groups, or specific countries.

Of these two types of passages (social sciences and humanities), social sciences passages tend to be more factual and scientific in tone. For example, a social sciences passage might discuss how basic psychological and sociological assumptions help scholars reconstruct patterns of prehistoric civilizations from ancient artifacts. Humanities passages often focus on the relationships between ideas and are more likely to be written in a conversational or opinionated style. Therefore, you should keep in mind the tone and word choice of the author in addition to the passage assertions themselves. Humanities passages might describe the ways art reflects historical or social change or how the philosophy of ethics has adapted to prevailing technological changes.

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills passages come from a variety of humanities and social sciences disciplines.

Humanities

Passages in the humanities are drawn from a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to):
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Ethics
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Popular Culture
  • Religion
  • Theater
  • Studies of Diverse Cultures1

Social Sciences

Social sciences passages are also drawn from a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to):
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Geography
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Population Health
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Studies of Diverse Cultures2
1Depending on the focus of the text a Studies of Diverse Cultures passage could be classified as belonging to either the Humanities or Social Sciences
2Depending on the focus of the text a Studies of Diverse Cultures passage could be classified as belonging to either the Humanities or Social Sciences