Critical Thinking is "the careful, deliberate determination of whether
we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim, and the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it."
From Critical Thinking by Moore and Parker. Strategies for Critical
Reading Ask yourself the following questions: What is the issue?"
What conclusion does the author reach about the issue?" What are the author's reasons for believing as he does?" Be alert to bad reasoning (i.e. pity, fear, misuse of statistics etc.) that can fool you.
Has the author used facts or opinions? Facts can be proven. Opinions cannot be proven and may or may not be based on sound reasoning.
Has the author used neutral words or emotional words? Critical readers look beyond the language to see if the reasons are clear.
Characteristics of Critical Thinkers They are honest with themselves
They resist manipulation They overcome confusion They ask questions They base judgments on evidence
They look for connections between subjects They are intellectually independent
Adapted from Critical Thinking by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero
The art or practice of concentration, no matter if studying biology or
playing pool, is to eliminate distraction and focus on the task at hand. If you find that you read through material and suddenly discover that you have no idea about what you've just read, or if you attend lectures
and have difficulty paying attention to what is being said, these tips may help:
Stick to a routine, efficient study schedule Study in a quiet environment
For a study break, do something different from
what you've been doing (e.g., walk around if you've been sitting), and in a different area
Avoid daydreaming by asking yourself questions about the material as you study it
Before lectures, look over
the notes of the previous lecture and read the course material pertaining to the lecture so that you can anticipate the main ideas that the instructor will cover
Show outward interest during lectures (attentive expression and posture) to self-motivate internal interest
Resist distractions by sitting in front of the room away from disruptive classmates and by focusing
on the instructor through listening and note taking
Adapted from J. R. Hayes, The Complete Problem Solver, Franklin Institute Press, 1981
It is never too early to start. By starting early you have
more time to finish the project, and you guarantee yourself adequate time to do a good job.
Determine the time commitment. Find out:
How long the presentation or paper should be
How hard the material is to research
How much time you have to complete the project
Break the project down into manageable sections.
This table of tasks includes a column "done by" date to help you organize yourself and the project.