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Politics and International Relations


Critical thinking is about not accepting what you read or hear at face value, but always questioning other people’s information, ideas and arguments.

It is a key skill that should be applied to all aspects of your studies. You need to ask the right questions when reading the work of others, and in your writing you need to demonstrate that you have weighed up different arguments and ideas, and used evidence to help you form your own opinions, arguments and theories.

Critical thinking is about questioning and learning with an open mind, and recognising that no information is entirely neutral.  

Remember that your ideas and reactions to information are not neutral either - your personal attitudes, beliefs and experiences will affect how you receive all information.

Critical Thinking

What is the resource?

Why was the resource created?

When was the resource created?

How was the resource created?

Where was the resource created?

Who created the resource?

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the  connection between ideas.

Someone with critical thinking skills can:

  • Understand the links between ideas.
  • Determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas.
  • Recognise, build and appraise arguments.
  • Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning.
  • Approach problems in a consistent and systematic way.
  • Reflect on the justification of their own assumptions, beliefs and values.

Taken from and reused with permission

Evaluating your results

A short video produced by the University of Leicester, explaining the importance of not taking things at face value and being critical in academic writing.

This video details the things to consider when evaluating websources.