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Study Skills: Critical Thinking

What is critical thinking?

There is a great deal of literature about what critical thinking or critical analysis is. Basically, it involves actively thinking and questioning issues rather than just accepting what you are presented with.  

It is a skill that can be difficult to develop, but is necessary when doing tertiary or higher level study. It requires the ability to :

  • be open minded
  • conceptualise
  • analyse and assess
  • interprete and evaluate information
  • make judgements
  • draw conclusions

Steps in Critical thinking

  1. Identifying and defining the problem. What are you being asked to do? What sort of information will you need? Why is this issue important?
  2. Exploring. Carrying out research into your topic, and gathering the information you need.
  3. Developing your own position based on the evidence in your readings, lectures, tutorials, etc. Think about what you have read. Do you agree or disagree with what is presented? Are there any gaps in the information? Is the material biased?
  4. Presenting your work. Make sure that your work is rational, well balanced and well thought out, and back up your position with evidence from your reading.
  5. Reevaluating - check your work  to make sure that what you have presented meets the requirements of the assignment.

Reflective practice resources in the library

Reflective practice involves thinking about your own actions, in order to improve performance, and is closely linked to critical thinking

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