With descriptive writing you are not developing argument; you are merely setting the background within which an argument can be developed. You are representing the situation as it stands, without presenting any analysis or discussion. Descriptive writing is relatively simple. There is also the trap that it can be easy to use many, many words from your word limit, simply providing description.
In providing only description, you are presenting but not transforming information; you are reporting ideas but not taking them forward in any way. An assignment using only descriptive writing would therefore gain few marks. With critical writing you are participating in the academic debate. This is more challenging and risky. You need to weigh up the evidence and arguments of others, and to contribute your own. You will need to:. A much higher level of skill is clearly needed for critical writing than for descriptive writing, and this is reflected in the higher marks it is given.
When you engage in critical writing you are developing your own academic voice within your subject. They suggest that the academic voice will involve:. Succeeding with your doctorate. Try to get into the habit of writing critically, by making sure that you read critically, and that you include critique in your writing. It can be tempting to string together quotes to support an argument, feeling that the more quotes you include, the stronger your argument.
It is important, however, to remember that you also need to interpret the quotes to the reader, and to explain their relevance, discuss their validity, and show how they relate to other evidence. You can use paragraphs to make a clear and visual separation between descriptive writing and critical analysis, by switching to a new paragraph when you move from description to critical writing, and vice versa. This can help in:. A paragraph break can provide a brief pause for your readers within a longer argument; giving them the opportunity to make sure they are keeping up with your reasoning.
Paragraphs that are overly long can require readers to hold too much in their mind at once, resulting in their having to re-read the material until they can identify the point you are making. You can also use paragraphs to push yourself to include critical writing alongside descriptive writing or referencing, by considering each paragraph almost as an essay in miniature.
Within each paragraph you would:. A certain amount of descriptive writing is essential, particularly in the earlier parts of the essay or assignment or dissertation. Beyond that, however, there is a danger that too much descriptive writing will use up valuable words from your word limit, and reduce the space you have for the critical writing that will get you higher marks.
A useful habit to get into is to make sure that, if you describe some evidence relevant to your argument, you need then to explain to the reader why it is relevant. The logic of your explanation contributes to the critical component of your writing. So, a sentence or two might describe and reference the evidence, but this is not enough in itself. The next few sentences need to explain what this evidence contributes to the argument you are making.
This may feel like duplication at first, or that you are explaining something that is obvious, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the relevance of the evidence is explained to the reader; you should not simply assume that the reader will be following the same logic as you, or will just work out the relevance of the quote or data you have described. So far this study guide has considered the detail of what you write. The other key element in critical writing is the overall structure of your piece of writing.
Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. He established the importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well.
His method of questioning is now known as "Socratic Questioning" and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy. In his mode of questioning, Socrates highlighted the need for thinking for clarity and logical consistency. Socrates asked people questions to reveal their irrational thinking or lack of reliable knowledge. Socrates demonstrated that having authority does not ensure accurate knowledge. He established the method of questioning beliefs, closely inspecting assumptions and relying on evidence and sound rationale.
Socrates set the agenda for the tradition of critical thinking, namely, to reflectively question common beliefs and explanations, carefully distinguishing beliefs that are reasonable and logical from those that—however appealing to our native egocentrism, however much they serve our vested interests, however comfortable or comforting they may be—lack adequate evidence or rational foundation to warrant belief. Critical thinking was described by Richard W.
Paul as a movement in two waves Its details vary amongst those who define it. According to Barry K. Beyer , critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.
National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking  defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
In the term critical thinking , the word critical , Grk. Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness.
Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices. The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking.
It followed a philosophy where the thinker was removed from the train of thought and the connections and the analysis of the connect was devoid of any bias of the thinker. Kerry Walters describes this ideology in his essay Beyond Logicism in Critical Thinking, "A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal and, to a lesser extent, formal logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective.
This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon". Walters Re-thinking Reason, , p. Walters summarizes logicism as "the unwarranted assumption that good thinking is reducible to logical thinking". Rationality and logic are still widely accepted in many circles as the primary examples of critical thinking. There are three types of logical reasoning Informally, two kinds of logical reasoning can be distinguished in addition to formal deduction: Walters Re-thinking Reason, argues that rationality demands more than just logical or traditional methods of problem solving and analysis or what he calls the "calculus of justification" but also considers " cognitive acts such as imagination , conceptual creativity, intuition and insight" p.
These "functions" are focused on discovery, on more abstract processes instead of linear, rules-based approaches to problem-solving. The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind. The ability to critically analyze an argument — to dissect structure and components, thesis and reasons — is essential. But so is the ability to be flexible and consider non-traditional alternatives and perspectives. These complementary functions are what allow for critical thinking to be a practice encompassing imagination and intuition in cooperation with traditional modes of deductive inquiry.
The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and metacognition. According to Reynolds , an individual or group engaged in a strong way of critical thinking gives due consideration to establish for instance: In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility , accuracy , precision, relevance , depth, breadth , significance, and fairness.
The habits of mind that characterize a person strongly disposed toward critical thinking include a desire to follow reason and evidence wherever they may lead, a systematic approach to problem solving, inquisitiveness , even-handedness, and confidence in reasoning. Critical thinkers therefore need to have reached a level of maturity in their development, possess a certain attitude as well as a set of taught skills.
Glaser proposed that the ability to think critically involves three elements: Educational programs aimed at developing critical thinking in children and adult learners, individually or in group problem solving and decision making contexts, continue to address these same three central elements. The Critical Thinking project at Human Science Lab, London , is involved in scientific study of all major educational system in prevalence today to assess how the systems are working to promote or impede critical thinking.
Contemporary cognitive psychology regards human reasoning as a complex process that is both reactive and reflective. The relationship between critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions is an empirical question. Some people have both in abundance, some have skills but not the disposition to use them, some are disposed but lack strong skills, and some have neither.
John Dewey is one of many educational leaders who recognized that a curriculum aimed at building thinking skills would benefit the individual learner, the community, and the entire democracy. Critical thinking is significant in academics due to being significant in learning. Critical thinking is significant in the learning process of internalization , in the construction of basic ideas, principles, and theories inherent in content.
Each discipline adapts its use of critical thinking concepts and principles. The core concepts are always there, but they are embedded in subject-specific content. For students to learn content, intellectual engagement is crucial. All students must do their own thinking, their own construction of knowledge.
Good teachers recognize this and therefore focus on the questions, readings, activities that stimulate the mind to take ownership of key concepts and principles underlying the subject. Historically, teaching of critical thinking focused only on logical procedures such as formal and informal logic. This emphasized to students that good thinking is equivalent to logical thinking. However, a second wave of critical thinking, urges educators to value conventional techniques, meanwhile expanding what it means to be a critical thinker.
These concepts invite students to incorporate their own perspectives and experiences into their thinking. In the English and Welsh school systems, Critical Thinking is offered as a subject that to year-olds can take as an A-Level. The full Advanced GCE is now available: The A-level tests candidates on their ability to think critically about, and analyze, arguments on their deductive or inductive validity, as well as producing their own arguments.
It also tests their ability to analyze certain related topics such as credibility and ethical decision-making. However, due to its comparative lack of subject content, many universities do not accept it as a main A-level for admissions. OCR exam board have also modified theirs for In Qatar , critical thinking was offered by AL-Bairaq —an outreach, non-traditional educational program that targets high school students and focuses on a curriculum based on STEM fields.
Faculty members train and mentor the students and help develop and enhance their critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. In , a meta-analysis of the literature on teaching effectiveness in higher education was undertaken. In a more recent meta-analysis, researchers reviewed quasi- or true-experimental studies, all of which used some form of standardized critical thinking measure to assess the outcome variable.
The results emphasized the need for exposing students to real-world problems and the importance in encouraging open dialogue within a supportive environment.
Effective strategies for teaching critical thinking are thought to be possible in a wide variety of educational settings. Scott Lilienfeld notes that there is some evidence to suggest that basic critical thinking skills might be successfully taught to children at a younger age than previously thought. Critical thinking is an important element of all professional fields and academic disciplines by referencing their respective sets of permissible questions, evidence sources, criteria, etc.
Within the framework of scientific skepticism , the process of critical thinking involves the careful acquisition and interpretation of information and use of it to reach a well-justified conclusion. The concepts and principles of critical thinking can be applied to any context or case but only by reflecting upon the nature of that application. Critical thinking forms, therefore, a system of related, and overlapping, modes of thought such as anthropological thinking, sociological thinking, historical thinking, political thinking, psychological thinking, philosophical thinking, mathematical thinking, chemical thinking, biological thinking, ecological thinking, legal thinking, ethical thinking, musical thinking, thinking like a painter, sculptor, engineer, business person, etc.
What is Critical Writing? • Learning how to present an effective argument –This means learning to present your reasoning and evidence in a clear, well structured manner (just as the writers of the.
Critical thinking: What would essay writing be without it? Well, you know what Mr. Spock would say. In fact, without critical thinking, essays would be highly illogical. Critical thinking allows you to dig under the surface to understand and articulate a subject or point of view.
Critical Thinking and Writing: analysis-contexts-discussion-conclusions Critical thinking is a lot more than merely following a format for construing a paper, "challenging assumptions," and observing "different perspectives," to name a couple of biggies. Critical thinking is the process of independently analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information as a guide to behavior and beliefs. The American Philosophical Association has defined critical thinking as "the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment.
Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store. Critical thinking is necessary to education, and writing is an essential way to develop critical thinking skills. When writing, you draw from what you already know, seek relevant information about a main idea, and develop new concepts regarding that idea.