Critical Thinking Help

Critical Thinking:

“Critical thinking is a term used to refer to those kinds of mental activity that are clear, precise, and purposeful. It is typically associated with solving complex real world problems, generating multiple (or creative) solutions to a problem, drawing inferences, synthesizing and integrating information, distinguishing between fact and opinion, or estimating potential outcomes, but it can also refer to the process of evaluating the quality of one’s own thinking.” (Source)

Critical Thinking: Analyzing the Message

Critical thinking is active, reasoned thinking that focuses more on the relative strength of an argument, as opposed to whether an argument is right or wrong (complex issues rarely fit into one box or another or another. Put it all together drawing from many sources rooted in your own experience). Consider the following guide:

“Who Benefits?” Questions:
(Used without permission: Prof. S. Rowley, York University, 2000)

1. Who defines reality here?

2. Whose reality is being represented here?

3. Who/what is absent/disappeared, marginalized or set in opposition?

4. What are the core assumptions?

5. What is Nature and “natural” here?

6. What is human?

7. Who benefits from this telling?

8. At what/whose expense?

9. How/Could this story be told otherwise?

10. How do the absent/disappeared/marginalized define themselves?

11. How does this relate to my own experiences?

12. How/Does this move me to change my thinking/acting/world?

Critical Thinking Links:

What You Can’t Say – Always ask questions
College Students are so Gullible
News Evaluation: Thinking Critically about Media – Great resource. Pearson College
Concept Mapping How-To – Getting ideas on paper
Critical Reading Strategies
Critical Thinking on The Web – a directory of quality online resources. Includes tutorials in argument mapping, a core requirement for advanced critical thinking.


Writing and Style Guides

“To improve one’s style – means to improve one’s thoughts – and nothing else!”
– (Nietzsche, the master of the aphoristic style)

Writing and Style Guides

11 Rules of Writing

A Research Guide for Students – Tools and guidelines for students

A Student’s Guide to Proofreading and Editing – A guide for student writers

APA Style – Answers questions about APA style; links to style guides

APA Reference Style Guide – A summary of rules for using APA style

Citing Electronic Information – How to cite online sources in various formats

Critical Reading and Writing – The fundamentals

Economist.com Style Guide

Evaluating Web Pages – “Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask” to find credible online sources. From UC Berkeley

Garbl’s Writing Centre – Advice, style manual, writing guide, forum

Guide to Grammar and Writing – Another writing guide

How to Read More Efficiently – Improve your reading, in pieces

How to Write a Cover Letter – Includes example cover letter

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography – From the University of California website

How to Write a Literature Review – How to review scholarly articles, dissertations, etc.

How to Write Research Reports – by Gordon L. Godshalk (Alfred University)

How to Write in Plain English – Learn how to write clearly