What is critical thinking?


Did you know that critical thinking is not synonymous with being negative and critical? Critical thinking could involve criticising an argument, but it’s more than that. It’s thoughtfully reasoned consideration.

This YouTube video on critical thinking by the Center for Innovation in Legal Education provides a useful, everyday definition of critical thinking and shows the purpose and value of critical thinking.

Critical thinking can be defined as examining your own ideas, and those of others; assessing and synthesising these different ideas and arguments; and applying ideas in different contexts.

You will need to think critically when reading, note taking, doing assignments, preparing for exams, organising your time, and attending lectures and tutorials.

Critical thinking involves seven steps. Let’s say, for example, you had to make a decision about which university to attend. You would ultimately do the following:

1. Analyse and interpret the question
E.g. Ask: ‘Which university should I attend?’

2. Immerse yourself in the topic
E.g. Seek information about different universities.

3. Ask questions
E.g. Ask questions about University services, programs of study, and potential career paths.

4. Make links
E.g. Make a link between Griffith University and its impact on a future career in education.

5. Understand the different perspectives
E.g. Synthesise information from a range of sources, such as University open days; guidance counsellors; current students; and professionals in the field.

6. Understand the theoretical frameworks
E.g. Familiarise yourself with terminology and concepts relevant to universities, such as undergrad, postgrad, entry requirementsand pre-requisites.

7. Develop a position and arguments to support it
E.g. Make an informed decision about which university to attend. It was Griffith University, right?

– Extract from Study Smart –



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