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Writing helps you clarify your thinking in terms of relevance, reasoning, and accuracy.Some professional courses may also require reflective writing assignments, such as built environment, education, engineering, medicine and social work.
In everyday language, criticise has a negative meaning-pointing out weaknesses or finding fault.
However, not all criticism is negative in an academic context.
Textbooks and study guides often present knowledge as absolute and unchanging.
However, at university knowledge is continually discussed and re-evaulated through considering ideas, evidence and consequences.
When you read in your discipline or listen to a lecture, ask yourself: Critical thinking is a skill, so develop the following habits to help develop your critical thinking skills: What are the lecturers' expectations of their students? For more on critical reading strategies see - Effective reading. Always note the source of the text: by whom, where and when it was published.
Write down any questions you have, or possible problems with the writer's ideas.Critical thinking has been defined in many ways, but is essentially the process of deliberate, systematic and logical thinking on any subject, while considering bias or assumptions that may affect your discussion.Critical thinking can be defined as, "the art of analysing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it" (Paul & Elder 2009).This guide introduces the idea of critical thinking for university study.Essays, reports, presentations and position papers all require you to show that you not only have researched and understood the topic, but that you have thought deeply about it and can express your thinking in appropriate ways.For example, you may be expected to learn the names and properties of chemical elements (knowledge), understand why some react with others (understanding) and conduct experiments (application).At these levels, memory and comprehension are necessary, and remain so at university. Markers often write comments on assignments which only communicate these lower levels of thinking, such as; "this is just description", "analyse this in more detail", or "you haven't understood the issues".For more on note-making see - Notemaking written text.You should always write your own assignments, but you can improve your understanding by discussing ideas and information with your peers and your tutors. Write regularly about your own ideas, thoughts and feelings on a topic.Before you start a course or an assignment, consider these questions: Working out what you do not know is also an important part of critical thinking.You may not yet be an expert on the topic, but you will have unique perspectives and experiences to contribute to the research conversation.