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).
- 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.
- 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