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Critical Thinking and Analysis for first year students

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1 Critical Thinking and Analysis for first year students
LQSU Critical Thinking and Analysis for first year students ©The Learning Quality Support Unit, 2013

2 What Is The Purpose of this Session?
To demonstrate the difference between description and analysis. To examine the dangers of making assumptions, and the need to use research and references to support an argument. To give an awareness of the critical thinking skills needed for post and undergraduate level academic work.

3 Description v Analysis
Describe this object!

4 Now…. Analyse the Object!
What don’t you know about it? Ask Questions!

5 Assumptions In critical thinking, an assumption refers to anything that is taken for granted in the presentation of an argument. When the author invites the audience to accept something as true rather than proving it.

6 How many assumptions can you find in the following statement?
“Family barbecues in the summer are relaxing and provide enjoyment for all the family. This year, many families will have their summer fun ruined by the English weather.”

7 Checking the assumptions
Assumption 1: Family gatherings are for relaxation and enjoyment. Some people would find such gatherings extremely stressful due to family conflict. Assumption 2: Families would choose a barbecue to meet with other members over other options such as a meal in a restaurant. Assumption 3: That family barbecues only take place in the summer. Assumption 4: That the weather will ruin a barbecue. Assumption 5: That the audience will understand words such as ‘barbecue’, ‘relaxing, ‘enjoyment’, ‘ruined’, ‘English weather’ and that these do not need to be defined.

8 Intellectual Standards
Clarity Could you elaborate further? Accuracy How could you check on that? Precision Could you be more specific? Relevance How does that relate to the problem? Depth What factors make this a difficult problem? Breadth Do we need to look at this from another perspective? Logic Does all this make sense together? Significance Is this the most important problem to consider? Fairness Do I have any vested interest in this issue? Adapted from Paul and Elder (2006, p. 14)

9 So what’s needed? Core Critical Thinking Skills (Facione, 2013, p.5)

10 REMEMBER!! Analysis is part of your everyday life!
We all use analytical skills naturally If you need to develop this skill – contact the Learning Quality Support Unit to make an appointment. There are several books in the library and useful sources online which can help you develop your critical thinking skills.

11 Bringing it all together
Show off your critical thinking and analysis skills Developing a line of argument Develop your own style

12 Conclusion Description should be kept to a minimum
Avoid making assumptions and recognise when assumptions are being made in academic research. Develop your awareness of and ability to use the intellectual standards which form the basis of critical thinking and analysis.

13 References Facione, P. A. (2013). Critical Thinking: What It is and Why it Counts. Retrieved from Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Retrieved from

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