We use critical thinking for analyzing data and making conclusions, evaluating various issues and situations, and interpreting it. Simply put, it makes us able to cast doubt on the incoming information.
Any person has two ways of thinking: simply intaking information, and actually thinking about it. The one who absorbs the data usually tries to remember the provided information, whilst the person who thinks about it strives to have an active interaction with the obtained knowledge. As a rule, when one talks about critical thinking, he/she means the combination of both features.
Developing critical thinking requires much effort, as it is always easier to take someone else’s standpoint. For example, your parents may think that maintaining a vegan diet badly affects your well-being and you will think similarly, as your family has such an opinion. However, if you do thorough research, you can change your mind, or, conversely, reiterate your opinion.
Critical thinking is used not just for writing critical thinking essays. Actually, people who obtain such skills are usually resistant to manipulations and insensitive to stereotypes.
What Is a Critical Thinking Essay?
Critical thinking essays are generally assigned to improve students’ analytical skills. Such kind of assignments helps learn thoroughly read the texts, use methodical doubt, reveal weak points in arguments — whether they are personal or others — utilize various concepts, and express what they think in a comprehensive manner.
The basis of any paper of this type is setting the proper questions and providing answers to them. Not only should you produce a qualitative text, but also provide valuable arguments on the assigned topic. It is vital to have your own opinion that bases on your own research and conclusions.
Among numerous ways to improve critical thinking skills, many people mention producing critical thinking papers. Such a practice helps to learn the effective ways of working with information, structuring it, filtering out questionable data, and making reasonable conclusions.
Critical Essay Writing Tips
Determine the main problem or argument. When you can choose a topic for an essay by yourself, it is always better to select something you are passionated about. Make sure there is enough information about it. For the first times, avoid choosing too complicated topics.
Do your research by gathering new data and recalling to knowledge you already obtain. If you are assigned to analyze a concrete material, read it thoroughly and highlight the main points. Also, consider jotting down the questions that might be considered while reading. As you read, take notes and concisely write your thoughts about the text.
Write a strong thesis statement. For this, you must determine the major thought of your essay. A well-thought-out thesis provides you with the aim you should achieve in the further paragraphs.
Write the middle part of your essay (the “meat”). To write the paper, you should thoughtfully analyze the material, take into consideration various opinions on the topic, and eventually come up with your own opinion on it.
Analyze the material. Write down the list of facts, arguments, and assertions provided in the text you are working on. Find out the strong and weak points for each, highlight essential relations.
Examine various points of view on the topic. If you read several critical thinking essays examples you will see that this part is vital. It would be mistaken to consider just one particular opinion to be the obvious and the only right one. Critical thinking requires examining and assessing plenty of scholarly viewpoints about the issue.
Consider the context. Does it seem to you that the author tries to depict the topic from an ideological standpoint? On this stage, you should keep in mind the fact that your own interpretation may be affected by your upbringing, ideology, and other prejudices.
Come up with your standpoint on the topic. It might be a good idea to create a separate section or paragraph dedicated to your viewpoint. You can imagine that you take part in a discussion and have to explain your standpoint with evidence. Do not use pronouns like “I” or “my.”
Write the concluding part. Provide an assessment of your findings along with a summary of the ideas you came up with. Indicate the directions that require further research.
Ways to Improve Critical Thinking Skills
Aside from reading plenty of critical thinking essay examples, there are other ways to develop your critical thinking skills. It is very beneficial as they will also help you make better decisions in your daily life and analyze any personal or professional situation you face in your life. Consider practicing at least one of the exercises below and enjoy the strengths of critical thinking.
Create a journal. Get used to carefully write down everything you think about a particular issue. Change it regularly, like once a week. Try using the following format:
Situation. Describe it in detail and from different standpoints: emotional, logical, and scientific.
Your reaction. Depicture your emotions related to the situation.
Analysis. Try to find out what has happened and for what reason.
Evaluation. Provide an assessment of the written text. Can you see any misconceptions in it? Is there anything you can change to improve your way of thinking?
Create a list of goals for the week. One good option is to write a list of features you would like to develop. For example, accuracy, clarity, logical thinking, and so on. You have to focus on them in your everyday activities. You can start with devoting one week to focus on what you say and how you say it. As the week ends, sum up your observations and think about how you can improve your speech.
Choose an issue that interests you and learn it carefully. Along with your everyday responsibilities, devote 15-30 minutes to learn something new about it. This way, you will be reading about various standpoints about the issue every day. Your task is to question the information and find out if it works or not.