2Critical & Analytical Thinking Key part of university study – developed as you studyBUT, Admissions Tutors will be looking for evidence of these skills in your application and at interviewDemonstrates wider knowledge and deeper understanding of subjectNeed to not only understand what you read but also pick it apart, question it, evaluate it and assess it.For example, may be asked to submit an extended piece of work or respond to questions at an interview. Admissions tutors will be looking for evidence that you can structure a complex academic argument
3What is Critical and Analytical Thinking? Word ‘critical’ has positive and negative meanings – does not mean just criticiseWeigh up the arguments for and againstLook deeper into what is being said and why it is being saidQuestion what you readIdentify strengths and weaknessesEvaluate what is being argued – do you agree with it?Is looking closely at the detail and not taking what you read or hear for grantedShould be able to understand and justify why one set of viewpoints is preferable to another- Need to be critical and analytical when reading, writing and listening
4Barriers to Critical and Analytical Thinking Misunderstanding of criticisingOur reasoning skills are not objective – we are biased ourselvesReluctance to criticise expertsReluctance to criticise the ‘norm’Not reading deeply enough around a subject – surface knowledgeWanting to know the right answerAnalysis of both positive and negative aspectsExperts - As a student you will naturally feel anxious questioning the work of those with more experience. Critical analysis is part of the way teaching works at university and is expected. By critiquing someone's work you are not telling them they are wrong but are challenging their ideas and encouraging deeper thought and research. What study is all about.The norm – Common sense or ‘normality’ may be questioned by researchers. Being critical means giving more consideration to the evidence and arguments that support something. An imp part of higher level study is questioning or as Foucault put it ‘making the familiar strange’Not reading deeply -To be able to c & a you need to thoroughly understand the subject (lots of reading!)Right answer - At university you are being trained to develop the skills to challenge the experts answers and find your own through questionning. In this sense there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, only supported arguments
5How to think critically and analytically Form a set of questions to help you think more deeply about what you have readApply these questions and similar ones to all of your arguments and essays to encourage you to question why things are the way they areUse your answers to develop your academic argument
6Question Bank Assess your sources What is the source? (Web, academic journal, newspaper…)What are the strengths and limitations of this source?Identify biasDoes the author have a hidden agenda?What is the purpose of the writing?Does their writing reflect a political viewpoint?Who might disagree with the writer?Evaluate evidenceWhat evidence/examples does the writer use?How reliable or useful is the evidence?Does it support the argument?Is the evidence up-to-date?Do they make any assumptions?
7Consider their argument What is the main argument? What statements/evidence in the article strengthen or weaken the argumentThink about the viewpoint in relation to the bigger picture – stand backCompare the same issue from the point of view of other authors – do their views differ?Draw conclusionsUnderstand why authors have arrived at different conclusionsArgue why one viewpoint is preferable to anotherAll ideas and arguments must be supported by evidence to add credibilityQuestion your own assumptions and biases as well as those of the author- Use these questioning techniques to develop an academic argumentEvaluating Evidence- Check their referencesWhat are the most relevant and authoritative sources for this subject?Recognise where evidence is relevant or irrelevant – does it support the conclusions of the point?- Should not generalise from a single case, generalisation and conclusions should be well founded and based on a reasonable sample.