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Let's get critical: a practical guide

Critical thinking

Question everything...
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Being a critical consumer of information

Never mind the quality… feel the width! With so much information available to us in the digital world, it’s important we choose wisely.

Critical thinking: What it is and how to do it

Have you ever received feedback in a piece of work saying 'be more critical' or 'not enough critical analysis' but found yourself scratching your head, wondering what that means? Dive into this bitesize workshop to discover how to think, read, and write critically:

Thinking critically

We all think critically, pretty much every day. How can we apply those skills to our academic life?

Academic critical thinking

Critical thinking is all about questioning and carefully considering information. In academic terms, you might question ideas or theories, taking into account who made them, where they were made, what they mean, and how they're used. You'll test them to understand their limits and how they compare or interact with other ideas and theories. And you'll look to find questions that haven't yet been asked.

Being critical can and should be a part of every learning activity when you are at university. Find ideas on how and why you can be critical lectures, when reading, in labs... in all learning activities in fact, in the resource below. 

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Blocks to critical thinking

Certain habits or approaches we have to life can hold us back from really thinking objectively about issues. We may not realise it, but often we're our own worst enemies when it comes to being critical...

Select a student to reveal the statement they've made.

Student 1

All these books and articles have been written by experts:
people with PhDs... doctorates... respected people.
How can I question what they have written?


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.

Student 2

The topic I am researching is so big!
There is just so much to read and then think about.
Where do I start?


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.

Student 3

I'm not sure which opinion or argument is the right one.
Where do I find the right answers?


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.

Student 4

Isn’t just gathering together what has been said about this issue enough?
I don’t have time for all this thinking and then reading and then thinking and then reading some more and then thinking and then writing!


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.

Student 5

I've read a lot of articles but I'm not sure I have enough material yet.
What if I've missed something?


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.

Student 6

I’ll do all the critical stuff at the end when I am writing.
Doing it later will be ok, right?


From the choices below, identify which block to critical thinking might be limiting their performance.


Student 1
Student 2
Student 3
Student 4
Student 5
Student 6