Critical thinking is thinking about something BEYOND the surface. It means not just taking a piece of information as an automatic truth. Thinking "critically" means asking questions that assess or evaluate the information. This assessment might be related to the following:
...and much more!
Applying critical thinking means that you are analyzing the information; assessing or evaluating it; synthesizing or explaining it; and reflecting on it.
This website provides an easy-to-follow list of things to consider when performing critical thinking. This includes:
This is something that you do when you write a paper. Each piece of information in your paper must be analyzed and evaluated before you should use it for evidence. Please consider how the information will impact your argument, and what impact it might have on the person reading your paper.
You can find more on how to evaluate or "think critically" about your information in the boxes below!
This is something can be PROVEN true or false.
Facts can be verified with evidence. For example, if you see a statistic, you should be able to see where that statistics came from and how the author of that fact came to that conclusion.
Examples of facts:
Here is where it gets tricky.
Sometimes it might sound like someone is giving their opinion, even if they are giving facts. Sometimes it sounds like someone is giving facts, when they are instead giving their opinion.
Remember: It is okay to use papers that provide a specific point of view. However, that point of view must be proven by evidence - whether that is independent research, or research that others have conducted.
Here are a few links that define and explain critical thinking, and provide examples and further reading.
One way that you can evaluate your resource it by putting it through the CRAAP test. Ask yourself the following questions:
If you can answer NO to any of these questions below, you should think twice about using it:
Is it CURRENT?
Is it RELEVANT?
Is it AUTHORITATIVE?
Is it ACCURATE?
If you can answer YES to any of these questions below, you should think twice about using it:
What is its PURPOSE?