Critical thinking

What is critical thinking?

A set of skills and an attitude of mind that you will need to cultivate and practise
Critical thinking

Reading critically

Thinking critically through targetted reading helps you build your argument as you go
Critical reading

Writing critically

Ways to demonstrate your critical thinking in your writing
Writing critcially
Top Tips
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Spot the signals in the brief

Discuss, analyse, synthesise, contrast, consider, compare, evaluate,
criticise, interpret, justify.

Read and interact with texts

  • See note making and research.
  • Always consider the purpose, context and the author’s motivation.
  • Practise summarising and paraphrasing.
  • Be curious and explore – but watch out for distractions (keep reminding yourself to focus).

Multiple sources

  • Compare and evaluate views from different sources.
  • Creating spidergrams and concept maps shows the bigger picture and how ideas fit together.

In your writing

  • Be well informed rather than opinionated.
  • Show that your ideas and interpretations have developed from the research that you have done.
  • You won’t always find a single clear answer or interpretation – you may need to embrace uncertainty.
  • See writing tips.

Multiple sources

  • Compare, contrast, evaluate and contextualise views from a range of authors
  • Remember that academic debate will rarely arrive at a single answer

Be logical and informed

  • Aim to be logical, reasonable, focussed and systematic
  • Be informed rather than opinionated
  • Use different paragraphs to separate critical writing from writing that is just descriptive
Resources

MindMup

Free online mind mapping tool that doesn’t require an account to use.

Getting Critical

A useful short guide to critical thinking in practice.

Coggle

Coggle is an online tool for creating and sharing mindmaps. It works online in your browser: there's nothing to download or install.

Draw.io

“Draw.io is free online diagram software for making flowcharts, process diagrams, org charts and network diagrams”. Links easily to Google Drive, Dropbox and One Drive to make saving mindmaps easier

5 Active Reading Strategies

5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments - College Info Geek

5 tips to improve your critical thinking

Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances — and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. Samantha Agoos describes a 5-step process that may help you with any number of problems.

Critical thinking

Develop your critical thinking skills as you progress through university