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How to Improve your Critical Thinking & Reflective Skills

How to Improve your Critical Thinking & Reflective Skills

Kathleen McMillan, Jonathan Weyers

Oct 2012, Paperback, 300 pages
ISBN13: 9780273773320
ISBN10: 0273773321
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New to the highly successful Smarter Study Skills series comes this essential guide to thinking and writing critically.

This easy-to-use guide identifies and addresses the key areas where most students need help in developing and enhancing the critical thinking and writing skills that are crucial to successful academic study, and provides practical tips and solutions. The authors use real life examples to illustrate common mistakes and demonstrate how to avoid them. They provide solid advice on enhancing analytical and argumentation skills by adopting best practice with critical thinking and reflective writing.


1. Key concepts and processes - how thinking, reflection and creativity involve important skills

Key approaches to thinking

2. Critical thinking - how to develop a logical approach to analysis and problem-solving

3. Reflective thinking - how to evaluate your feelings in academic contexts

4. Creative thinking - how to generate innovative and original ideas

Critical thinking in practice

5. Arriving at a viewpoint - how to sift fact and opinion to arrive at a position on a topic

6. Supporting and opposing an argument - how to express your point of view through discussion and debate

7. Interpreting and manipulating data - how to approach graphs, tables, formulae and basic statistics

8. Decision-making and work-planning - how to make choices, plan ahead and prioritise

9. Group effort and collaboration - how to enhance your contribution to teamwork

Evaluating the ideas of others

10. Evaluating information sources - how to filter and select reliable material

11. Effective academic reading - how to read efficiently and with understanding

12. Note-making from texts - how to create effective notes for later reference

13. Plagiarism and copyright infringement - how to avoid being accused of 'stealing' the ideas and work of others

14. Citing and listing references - how to refer appropriately to the work of others

Putting your thinking into words

15. Tackling a writing assignment - how to respond to the specified task

16. Academic writing style - how to adopt appropriate language conventions

17. General writing structures – how to select and shape your content appropriately

18. Writing about reflection - how to structure and report your thoughts

19. Editing and presenting your assignment - how to review your own work and follow academic conventions

Forward thinking

20. Exploiting feedback - how to learn from what lecturers think of your work

21. Preparing for employment- how to transfer your thinking skills to a career

· Tips, examples, checklists, ‘Try This’ boxes, 2 colour design.

· A common sense, no-nonsense approach that gives students immediate access to the information they need. Relevant content with a focus on key issues and instant solutions.

· Each topic is matched to an issue, event or assignment that the student will want to read up on at a time of need.

· Annotated table of contents to help readers find exactly what they need.

Kathleen McMillan and Jonathan Weyers work within the University of Dundee’s Learning Centre and Academic Affairs Office respectively and have each been teaching for over 25 years and now specialize in supporting academic skills across both the arts and sciences.