A2 Basic UK 19054 Folder Collection
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Coffee is better than tea.
That's an opinion.
It's not an argument in academic terms,
although you might want
to argue with the opinion.
Now this is an academic argument:
Statement one: Caffeine stimulates
the brain and nervous system.
Statement two:
Coffee contains more caffeine than tea.
And statement three is the conclusion:
Therefore coffee is
more stimulating than tea.
An argument is a collection
of statements which,
when you consider them together,
allows you to make
another statement or a conclusion.
Making and evaluating arguments is one of the key functions of critical thinking.
We'll come back to this.
You've probably heard
this term 'critical thinking' before.
But what exactly does it mean?
It's what you do
when you evaluate information
and make decisions.
And it's crucial if
you want to become
an independent thinker:
if you want to think for yourself.
And if you want to get good grades.
You can defend your opinions
and evaluate theories,
finding their weaknesses and strengths.
So, it sounds like a good thing, doesn't it?
But how do you do it?
Back to our argument.
If you're a critical thinker and
someone tells you coffee
is more stimulating than
tea, what do you do?
First, examine their argument.
Is there a logical connection between the statements?
I think so.
Then you'd examine their sources.
Ask questions like these:
whose work is it?
When was it written?
How was the research funded?
What methods were used to find the evidence?
Is it objective –
what's fact and what's opinion?
What has been left out?
What other perspectives or
points of view could there be?
Ask questions to analyse these sources,
compare them with other sources,
and synthesise your findings.
And it's important to try
to put your own biases to one side.
We all have them:
"I have to say I prefer coffee,
so I'll look for evidence
that supports my view."
And look out for any assumptions.
"Well, coffee's good for you, isn't it?"
And critical thinking can be applied to more than just reading,
you can write critically too.
Phrases like these are
a great way to introduce sources and evidence:
'It can be argued that…'
'There is evidence to suggest that…'
'This supports the conclusion that…'
So, go out,
find out more about
this huge topic
and try it out for yourself.
Critical thinking is like a muscle:
it gets stronger the more you work at it.
Of course, you'll need
a fully alert and stimulated mind
in order to get down to work.
Which leaves one question:
which is better:
coffee or tea?
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Study Skills – How to think critically

19054 Folder Collection
Samuel published on April 16, 2018    B.Y.l translated    Evangeline reviewed
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