Presentation on theme: "The noted critics Statler and Waldorf. What critical thinking is and why it matters How it can be applied to different academic disciplines What it means."— Presentation transcript:
What critical thinking is and why it matters How it can be applied to different academic disciplines What it means to be a critical thinker The relationship between description and analysis The difference between personal opinion and academic argument INTRODUCTION In this session we will consider:
Sally G, Languages Morag, Politics and International Relations Sarah, Education Ros, Chemistry CRITICAL THINKING IN PRACTICE Examples of how undergraduates use critical thinking:
approaching information, ideas, data and other information with an open mind analysing, challenging and questioning all this information rather than simply accepting it as being ‘true’ or ‘correct’ using the information you encounter – and perhaps a range of viewpoints or information - to develop your own ideas, rather than simply describing or reproducing others’ work CRITICAL THINKING IN PRACTICE So, critical thinking can involve: All of which can be see as active rather than passive learning, or being a user rather than a consumer of information.
is a fundamental part of being at university, and something that separates higher education from school gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your own ideas and originality, rather than just reproducing someone else’s work challenges you to delve into your chosen subject in real depth, rather than skimming the surface, aiding your understanding it can be closely linked to how you perform in assessment BUT WHY DOES IT MATTER? Thinking critically at university is vital because it: It can also be invigorating and enjoyable!
CRITICAL THINKING: AN EXERCISE In this exercise we want you to reflect on the trustworthiness of depictions of a news event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wss_urnuB7o
CRITICAL THINKING: AN EXERCISE Different perspectives on a single event http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DS3gNUDD_U&feature=related
How recently was the information published? Is it directly relevant to the question? Is it backed up by supporting evidence? If so, is the supporting evidence reliable or drawn from an academic source? How has the information been presented? What is the language like – is it passive and seemingly neutral or is it emotionally charged? CRITICALLY REVIEWING INFORMATION Thinking about the credibility of a piece of information
CRITICALLY REVIEWING INFORMATION Thinking about the author’s credibility and motivation Is the author (or the author’s organisation) likely to benefit from putting forward this view? Is the author/organisation financially linked to the issue - how has the research or author been funded? Does the author have any academic credibility? Is there likely to be media bias at play? What about political bias?
http://ics-www.leeds.ac.uk/papers/pmt/exhibits/967/portray.pdf CRITICAL THINKING: AN EXERCISE Different perspectives on a single event
EXERCISE: REFLECTING ON YOUR APPROACH IN S6 Which of the following best describes your approach during S6? took notes in class and re-read them afterwards carried out required reading, perhaps underlining, highlighting, making notes attempted to accurately reproduce ideas from class or books within coursework or other assessments A B took class notes then spent time reflecting on them carried out the reading and focused on thinking about the significance of what you had read tried to put your own ideas across during assessment and coursework
DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS Description and analysis are inter-related yet distinct activities. Both have a place within undergraduate study. Description outlines what happened whereas analysis explains the significance of it happening Description describes a theory whereas analysis explores what the theory means and relates it to the essay question Description lists information whereas analysis considers the significance and inter-relationship of the different items Description involves reproducing facts whereas analysis attempts to create meaning from the collected information
Put aside your preconception of the subject or topic Accept that you might have to make a case for something you are personally against Look for weaknesses or gaps in the information or data Allow the gathered information to guide your research - reshape ideas and follow new lines of investigation Draw a conclusion at the end of your research, not with every new piece of information you collect Don’t be afraid to accept that your original ideas may have been flawed APPROACHING A QUESTION WITH AN OPEN MIND Approaching a question with an open mind
PERSONAL OPINION VERSUS ACADEMIC ARGUMENT Your voice matters – but it needs to be convincing Within higher education you will be encouraged to take up your own position and develop your own ideas These ideas however will generally need to be grounded in supporting evidence (such as data, statistics, theory, expert opinion) The quality of evidence upon which you construct ideas will influence how plausible and convincing your position is Building your own ideas upon plausible evidence will transform your ideas from personal opinion into an academic argument
Chris, Law Naomi, History Lisa, Politics and Social Policy Elize, Engineering TAKING A BALANCED APPROACH Can there ever be a straightforward ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answer in degree-level study?
‘On balance…’ ‘Considering the different views one could conclude that…’ ‘There is a clear and strong case…’ ‘The evidence suggests that’ ‘The information presented here points towards…’ ‘It is obvious that…’ ‘It has been proven beyond any doubt…’ ‘We can now all agree that…’ Not good! TAKING A BALANCED APPROACH Good!
Offers academic argument instead of personal opinion SO, WHAT MAKES A CRITICAL THINKER? Evaluates the credibility of information sources Approaches a topic or information with an open mind Question information, theories or data, looking for strengths, weaknesses and gaps Is able to describe and then analyse information or ideas....and will probably do well at university
REMEMBER TO BE CRITICAL OUT THERE! Things are not always what they seem… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkr22f_MTOM&feature=related