Critical writing The word "critical" can mean different things in different contexts. For example, it can refer to the importance of something, or can also mean pointing out the negative aspects of something, ie to criticise something. However, critical thinking at university does not mean looking only for the most important aspects of a topic or just criticising ideas. It is also about not accepting what you read or hear at face value, but always questioning the information, ideas and arguments you find in your studies.
Critical thinking What is critical thinking and how do you do it? Anyone involved in academic study will have asked this question - often repeatedly - and come up against the problem of getting a swift answer.
While you could say that critical thinking is at the heart of academic study, it's more of a process, a way of thinking, understanding and expressing ourselves, than a single definable skill which is why a Critical Thinking Checklist has been included.
When you're asked to 'engage critically' with texts, to 'critically evaluate' a theory or findings, to develop a 'critical analysis' in your written work, you're being asked to employ a number of skills and demonstrate a number of qualities, at the same time.
Understanding what these are - and learning to use them effectively - is something you develop over time and with the help of tutors, lecturers and peers.
Fundamentally, critical thinking is about using your ability to reason. It's about being active as opposed to passive in your learning. It means that when you approach an idea, you do so with scepticism and doubt, rather than with unquestioning acceptance.
You're always questioning whether the ideas, arguments and findings you're coming across are the whole picture and you're open to finding that they're not. You're identifying, analysing and, where possible, solving problems systematically.
Arguments, here, are not squabbles between people - though they do evaluate other people's ideas: Being able to discern and create structured, reasoned arguments is central to critical thinking.
What all this means is that: You're constantly evaluating what you read, hear, think, experience and observe. You're assessing how well ideas, statements, claims, arguments and findings are backed up so that you can make a reasoned judgement about how convincing they are.
Even when I read two things saying completely different Critical thinking model plymouth university, the arguments are polar opposites, and I have agreed with them both and I've thought, I can't agree with them both. It is easy to get lulled into just agreeing with what an academic says because they write it so persuasively and they write it so eloquently but what you need to do is establish what you think about a particular topic.
Don't be afraid to criticise people who are published, even if it's your own lecturer's book, if you don't agree with what they've written don't be afraid to say that because what that shows is that you are thinking critically.
Kalim View Kalim's student perspective Transcript So I think one thing that's important throughout all courses is critical thinking and analysing arguments. It's not an entirely new thing coming to uni but it's definitely something that I found I needed to improve and use a lot more at uni.
I found that A level was a bit like GCSE in a sense, in that you had to jump through hoops and you had clear like learning objectives. Whereas at university that's not so obvious - it's not like you just have to do these things, you have to write an essay that does this and does that.
There's more freedom in what you can choose to do and it's all judged by a similar kind of method of how strong your argument is, how sound your logic is or your reasoning and also how well you've evidenced things and researched things.
I think since I've been at university I've learnt to make less generalisations in essays and also not just that, but to learn that things I didn't think were generalisations, are actually generalisations and you can be a lot more specific about things and it should be.
And it's hard, it's really hard that's why essays take me so long to write because I love to speak about things in seminars and think about things but it's really hard constructing a really well argued, robust argument and really well expressed.
It's a really hard thing to do and I think you've got to accept that and give yourself enough time to be able to do it.
I'd like to say it gets easier as you go along, it doesn't necessarily get easier, I think you get better at it but it still is hard. Milan View Milan's student perspective Transcript In terms of developing my critical thinking, I look at the subject or topic matter and then I try to understand the basic background first.
When I go to the reading I have to keep reminding myself whilst reading what the angle is of the author who has written this. Why have they said this? What are they attempting to make us question while reading it? Are they right in what they say?
Are they wrong in what they say? And at the end of the reading you should be able to have kept those things at the back of your mind and have developed your own critical thinking which may agree with what the author has said or completely the opposite but it really depends on looking at the angles of the text, the subject matter and what the subject matter means to you.
How can I criticise what the experts say? Initially, students often feel anxious about criticising ideas, evidence etc. Some may feel that it's disrespectful to criticise or challenge what established academics present in their work.
What you need to remember here is that you're not being critical in the sense of being negative although you might be! And you're certainly not rubbishing ideas without any back-up to what you say.Study guide 8: ‘Critical Thinking’ summary version, Learning Development, University of Plymouth () between the most and the less important factors in any situation.
It also helps you to think through and justify your own position.
Critical thinking is not just about what you think, it's about what you think and argue. You're being critical in the sense of analysing ideas, observations, experience and reasons, exploring the evidence and carefully considering whether something makes sense and is accurate.
Plymouth University has devised a critical thinking model to help you reflect and analyse a critical incident and how this can be used in your critical writing.
We help our students cultivate their creativity, critical thinking, skillful communication, real-world connections, and social agency through discussion, collaborative learning, art-making, research, community service, and internships.
Introductory and background information to contextualise problem / topic Exploring the relationship of parts to whole Possible situations. Title: Critical Thinking model flyer handout from Learn Higher Author: Lisa Rull Subject: Critical Thinking model flyer handout from Learn Higher.