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University of Newcastle Library guides

Effective reading skills: Critical thinking

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Critical thinking

Critical thinking is essential for learning.

As a student, you will be expected to critically  appraise all of your reading, writing, listening and discussing. Basically this involves

understanding different points of view
evaluating strengths and weaknesses
asking lots of question of the things you are exploring.

The word ‘critical’ is commonly thought to have a negative meaning – finding fault with something.

At university ‘critical’ has a broader meaning.

Being critical involves making judgements and evaluations, based on evidence gained from reading widely and thinking deeply.