THINKING CRITICALLY, THINKING ACADEMICALLY
Chris McMillan, Academic Skills Adviser firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it mean to think critically?
Being critical ď‚¨
Moving from remembering, recording and describing information to analysing, evaluating and synthesising knowledge
Analysing and Evaluating
Critical thinking is a questioning attitude, rather than a set of skills
Why is it important to think critically?
Independent and active learning is essential at university
Reasoning and analysis skills are highly valued by employers
The ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise is vital to producing high quality academic work
Need to be able to think for yourself and make independent judgements
Universities have a vital role in democratic societies Having a critical identity makes you a more interesting person!
Critical Thinking at University
Universities act as the ‘critic and conscience of society’ More than producing skilled graduates, democratic societies require critical consumers of information to hold those in authority to account University scholar’s seek to move beyond describing what is known to analysing and evaluating what is claimed as knowledge
“I like straightforward classes where there are not a lot of different ideas for the same thing. I just want to know the facts”
From Moon (2005)
2 Everybody has the right to their own opinion and ideas. Who am I do decide what is right and wrongâ€? â€œ
3 â€œI like arguing about competing ideas and coming to my own conclusionâ€?
From description to critique When was Brunel University founded?
What were the conditions that led to Brunel becoming a university? What are the factors that have influenced Brunel’s development since 1966? What are the current pressures influencing the University’s development and how could it best respond to these pressures?
How many people are likely to die from the effects of climate change?
The Internet and Truth Which of these is true? ď‚¨
Derek "The Slipper Man" Fan holds the Guinness World Records record for wearing a pair of dress slippers for 23 years straight as of June 30, 2007.
The ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz sold for a record $165,000.
Are you critical? Write for one minute on whether you are an independent thinker in your life and at university. Is it something you find difficult, or does it come naturally?
Being critical in the social sciences
Questioning the world around you Being an active and sceptical participant Asking ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘How do we know’ rather than describing what
Methods vs. Theory
Studying in the social sciences produces different ways of being critical Different disciplines use different frameworks to ask and answer research questions Methodological
assumptions Theoretical frameworks
Different ways of asking questions produce different answers
Asking the right questions
"Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?“ Should cannibalism, as part of a good diet, be a criminal offense in New Zealand? “Should physically assaulting a child be a criminal offense in New Zealand?”
What are the main assumptions made about children’s behaviour and modes of learning that are being made in this debate? How is physical discipline being represented in ‘criminal’ drama shows?
Critical Life: One-Minute Essay
Complete the sentence: ‘I never understand why people…’ on one of the post-it notes provided Pass these notes around the class until you have lost track of their source Answer this questions: How
could we investigate this question?
Don’t describe – critique, analyse, argue
Know how to think rather than remembering
This is the purpose, and value, of a degree in social sciences Each discipline has its own tools for asking and answering research questions
Next Week Critical reading and notemaking Need more help?
Make an appointment with ASK: Monday- Friday 1-3 pm ď‚¨ Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5-6 pm Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ď‚¨