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What is a critical thinking essay and how to write it?


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Typing a critical thinking paper on a typewriter

Thinking is an inborn ability to process the obtained experience and information, as well as analyze and detect the portions of information that may turn out to be necessary at a certain point in time. We do not usually ponder on the critical thinking that is practiced on a daily basis. It is applied in all aspects and spheres of our life, and it is especially essential when it comes to education. There are various types of thinking, and all of them are necessary to apply at this or that situation.

Critical thinking and academic writing are interconnected and accompany each other until the very end of the studies. Moreover, it is further practiced when people graduate a get jobs, as many of them apply the gained knowledge and skills at their workplaces to complete projects, analyze piles of documents and information, process this information to produce reports, invent brand-new appliances and create things, and even develop new ideas that promote a certain organization or company.

What is critical thinking?

What is “think critical” definition? It is such a type of thinking that helps to be clear and rational about particular judgments, concepts, ideas, and decisions that belong to you or someone else. Improving a theory, developing a new one, and backing up obtained evidence for a particular project can be successfully accomplished when critical thinking in academic writing is developed at a sufficient level.

How is critical thinking used?

Some of you may believe that these skills are necessary only for sciences, but this is not always the case. Creative tasks often require the application of these skills at a lot of levels. Creativity requires producing and coming up with bright and brand-new ideas that no one else has ever managed to generate.

Critical thinking and writing skills, such as abilities to analyze, evaluate, complete detailed researches, draw conclusions, etc., are definitely very important when it comes to mastering a course or completing a project with the highest grade. It is also important to point out that to be able to think critically does not mean to criticize a particular thought, argument, idea, or evidence, but rather to evaluate all the information that a person possesses at a given moment and decide what to do about it to solve any kind of problem.

How to improve critical thinking?

Why is critical thinking important in writing and how to improve it? Such a skill helps you to evaluate what you see, read, or listen to and make conclusions based not only on the information at hand, but on the myriad of other facts as well. With the ability to think critically, you will easily detect fake news and will be unlikely to cite non-credible sources in your essay.

Here are some tips on how to boost your critical thinking skills:

  • Learn to ask questions even if they seem basic or somehow confusing. If you hear some weird news, the first question that should come to your mind is, “How do you know that?” and “Can you prove it?”.
  • Evaluate all the existing evidence. Do not take everything at face value even if the source seems trustworthy.
  • Fact-check everything you read or hear. If you come across some disturbing news, simply google it to read some other article from a more credible source.
  • Accept the fact that not everybody can think critically. That is why it is better to check the news you hear even from your friends or relatives.

Tips from experts

Meet our advisors

A critical review/appraisal is the review of someone’s work. It could be text, film, or art.

There are a few things you need to cover:

  • Thesis statement – upon reviewing the text, film, or art materials, decide on your position. State your position in 2-3 sentences.
  • Support – find sources to support your position and justify your statement. Don’t be “obvious” (i.e., I like this text) – state facts about your position.
  • Argument – Line up your sources in a logic persuasive manner. Take a stand. Prove your point. Use quotes. Stay on track – be focused.
  • Defense of your thesis statement. Be thorough with your sources. Don’t let anyone challenge your position. Be confident.

Bottom line: Don’t make an argument you can not defend.

Penny J. Larsen

College professor with 30 years of teaching experience

Critical thinking essay topics

When starting working on the assignment, your very first step should be choosing an interesting and relevant topic to write on. Here is the list of some good topics for critical thinking essays:

  • Sports and drug use: the moral side of the issue
  • The influence of social media
  • The issue of obesity
  • Communication differences between generations
  • The issue of gender inequality
  • Do social media contribute to anxiety?
  • Diversity in the modern world
  • Wealth inequality in the developed countries
  • Is fashion harmful to teenager’s mental health?

Critical thinking essay outline

Once you’ve chosen the topic, your next step should be outlining your paper and jotting down the main points you are going to include in it. Critical thinking papers usually have a pretty basic structure. Let’s review it:

  • Here, you present the topic or the issue under consideration in the form of the thesis statement. It is also advisable to write a hook sentence and add some factual background information.
  • For each paragraph, present one argument and reinforce it with the example and evidence. Also, be sure to indicate the source of information you include.
  • In this part, you need to restate your thesis, overview the points you made, and show how your thesis was proven.

Critical thinking essay format

The good news is that there is no specific format for a critical thinking essay. The most important aspect is to showcase how you’ve succeeded in implementing your critical thinking in writing. As for the formatting style, it is better to ask your teacher which one you have to use as per the policies of your educational institution or teacher’s preferences. If you need formatting guides, visit your university’s writing center.

How to write a critical thinking essay?

After you’ve chosen the topic, created an outline, and found out what format you need to use, it’s time to get to the writing part. Here, you need to remember to:

  • Follow the outline precisely. You may even put down the starting sentences for each paragraph in order to create a more detailed writing plan.
  • Revise your thesis if necessary. While a thesis statement is your “guiding sentence” it doesn’t mean you cannot change it if you realize you can make better points.
  • Provide real-life examples where possible. It’s best to take them from a few peer-reviewed articles that have chosen different samples.
  • Explain why you think something is true and what makes you believe it is. If your justification is based on opinions and guesses, you need to do more research.

Finally, once you finish writing, it might be best to ask your friend to read your paper. Ask them if they have any questions regarding the points you’ve made or the factual data you have provided. If they do, you might consider addressing these questions in the respective paragraphs before submitting your essay.

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