Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a key part of independent, self-directed learning.

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In higher education, critical thinking doesn’t mean criticising or finding fault. Instead, it means thinking in depth about something and we can do this by asking lots of questions for example:

Why? Who? What? Where? When? How? What if? What next?

  • Critical thinking is about taking nothing for granted; so when you’ve asked the question, then it is good practice to question the answer.
  • Critical thinking is about examining arguments to see whether they are well-reasoned and logical (here an argument is not a disagreement but a reason or set of reasons which leads to a conclusion).
  • Critical thinking also involves reading between the lines and looking for what is not being said as well as what is being made obvious.
  • Most of all, critical thinking is about keeping an open mind and being prepared to question your own points of view and understanding alternative ones.
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