Critical Thinking Text

Having questions changes reading from a passive to an active pursuit.

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A significant element in being active is to write down, in your own words, the key points.

The final step is to review the material that you have recalled in your notes. Do not take for granted that you have recalled everything you need correctly – review the text again to make sure and clarify.

To start with, you need to know what you are looking for.

You can then examine the contents page and/or index of a book or journal to ascertain whether a chapter or article is worth pursuing further.

To read critically is to exercise your judgement about what you are reading – that is, not taking anything you read at face value.

When reading academic material you will be faced with the author’s interpretation and opinion.In academic circles, whilst you are a student, you will be expected to understand different viewpoints and make your own judgements based on what you have read.Critical reading goes further than just being satisfied with what a text says, it also involves reflecting on what the text describes, and analysing what the text actually means, in the context of your studies.Different authors will, naturally, have different slants.You should always examine what you are reading critically and look for limitations, omissions, inconsistencies, oversights and arguments against what you are reading.Did you understand the main principles of the argument? Critical thinking is an important skill needed for university study in the UK.’ Critical reading involves presenting a reasoned argument that evaluates and analyses what you have read.Being critical, therefore - in an academic sense - means advancing your understanding, not dismissing and therefore closing off learning.Critical thinking involves being rational and aware of your own feelings on the subject – being able to reorganise your thoughts, prior knowledge and understanding to accommodate new ideas or viewpoints.Critical reading and critical thinking are therefore the very foundations of true learning and personal development.

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