At university, you are often encouraged to be ‘critical’ in your thinking, reading and writing. Critical thinking aims to open up and challenge existing knowledge, rather than to reproduce it.
Critical thinking, reading and writing can simply be defined as considering more than one point of view or interpretation.
The word ‘critical’ is used differently in academic language than in everyday language. In academic language, it means ‘questioning’ or ‘challenging’ (as in ‘critique’). When you think critically, it doesn’t mean you have to find fault.
A critical approach is important so that you can:
This is one process you can follow to think or read critically.
This material was developed by the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning), which offers workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills.