Critical thinking is a core skill required for academic endeavour in any subject and at any level. It is one of the principal features of good academic work. It is the process by which we ask questions of a text, author or topic under discussion. It is not only a matter of understanding an argument, being able to pick holes in it or identify logical fallacies, but instead involves:
Academic enquiry is dynamic in nature, and it is rare that there will be a clear cut 'critical' response to a text. It is also vital that the same critical approach is applied to your own work, as well as that of others.
While some of the core features of critical thinking can be applied to all academic texts, it is often contextualised by a subject. For example, what counts as evidence in one subject may not be adequate for another; our expectations of a solid methodological approach will differ between disciplines.
So spend a moment considering your subject, either broadly at discipline level, or more narrowly about the area of the subject you're most interested in. Consider what might represent the key features of good academic enquiry in your discipline.
This is an example of the kind of critical thinking process you might go through when you're reading or when you're encountering ideas in lectures or seminars. The model was adapted from LearnHigher materials.
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