Thinking critically involves asking questions. Academic researchers who have been reading material from their field for years do this automatically. To help you adopt the same questioning mind as a student, it can be useful to keep a list of critical prompts — questions to ask every time you encounter a new text. When reading a paper, you might ask: ‘Was the method the best choice to test the hypothesis?’ or ‘Does the conclusion follow on logically from the research?’ Keep a notebook to record these questions and try to add to the list every time you read for an assignment. You might not use all the questions every time you analyse a text, but they will help to remind you of all the different ways you can evaluate what the author is saying.
Dr Anna Barker
16 May 2019
Developing a critical mindset involves drawing on qualities including confidence, motivation, curiosity and effort.
Do you start reading an academic journal article, plough through a few paragraphs and realise you have lost your focus? Try this technique to gain a quick overview and identify the sections you need to read in depth. 1 Reading order Read the abstract to check the article is relevant to your topic. Then scan…
Working from the bottom up can be a creative way to grow a project. You write notes as you read to create a rough draft as you go.