Critical thinking skills module

Critical thinking skills explains what critical thinking really is and how it can be applied to learning in order to question assumptions, evaluate the reliability of sources and evidence and compare propositions.

Sample activity: Assess your existing critical thinking abilities

Impossible geometry cube

Some people are more likely than others to trust that what they hear, read or see is true and reliable.

These differences may relate to past experiences or to personality traits.

However, critical thinking does not strictly rely upon influences from your previous encounters or personality: it depends more on using a certain set of methods to pull apart evidence in an objective way.

How critical is your current thinking? Read each of the statements below and select all that you think apply to you.

Your choices appear below

Trusting

If you feel that not many of the statements above apply to you, then it is likely that you are more trusting and less sceptical about the information you read, hear or see. To think critically, you may benefit from introducing an element of scepticism and doubt into the way you view information.

Sceptical

If lots of the statements above resonate with you, you may be sceptical about verbal, visual and aural information. Critical thinking can give you the tools to use such scepticism and doubt constructively. It can enable you to analyse information and make informed decisions about whether something is likely to be true and reliable.

Download the worksheet 'Assess your thinking skills' to take a more comprehensive look at your thinking skills.

Module content

Critical thinking skills features the following:

  • Diagnostic test
  • Section 1: What is critical thinking
  • Section 2: Critical reading and writing
  • Section 3: Evaluating evidence
  • Module assessment

See what’s in each section below:

  • Critical thinking as a student
  • Reading, listening and writing critically
  • Benefits of critical thinking
  • Foundations for critical thinking
  • Learn from your tutor
  • Skills self-assessment
  • What is an argument?
  • What is the writer's position?
  • Examining reasoning, proposition and progression 
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Critically reading your own writing
  • Points of learning from other students
  • Finding and evaluating evidence
  • Evaluating sources of evidence
  • Checking for bias
  • Evaluating statistics and numbers
  • Tips from other students

Assess your existing critical thinking abilities

Some people are more likely than others to trust that what they hear, read or see is true and reliable.

These differences may relate to past experiences or to personality traits.

However, critical thinking does not strictly rely upon influences from your previous encounters or personality: it depends more on using a certain set of methods to pull apart evidence in an objective way.

 

How critical is your current thinking? Read each of the statements below and consider which ones apply to you.

  • There is always more than one way of looking at any issue
  • I only believe what I'm told if it is supported by evidence
  • There are some opinions I simply will not accept, regardless of the evidence
  • I question everything, because I find it difficult to accept that other people's opinions are reliable
  • I feel comfortable pointing out potential weaknesses in the work of experts
  • I am aware of how my current beliefs may influence my consideration of an issue
  • If I am not sure about something, I carry out research to learn more

 

Trusting

If you feel that not many of the statements above apply to you, then it is likely that you are more trusting and less sceptical about the information you read, hear or see. To think critically, you may benefit from introducing an element of scepticism and doubt into the way you view information.

 

Sceptical

If lots of the statements above resonate with you, you may be sceptical about verbal, visual and aural information. Critical thinking can give you the tools to use such scepticism and doubt constructively. It can enable you to analyse information and make informed decisions about whether something is likely to be true and reliable.


Download the worksheet 'Assess your thinking skills' to take a more comprehensive look at your thinking skills.