The word ‘critical’ has its roots in the ancient Greek for discerning judgment (kriticos) and for standards (kriterion). The word therefore suggests, in its simplest form, discerning judgment based on standards. Practitioner-led Research involves critical reading and critical thinking, as well as the ability to analyse research data critically and present it for critical review. All of these activities are good preparation for Level 7 study.
Reading critically is a skill that takes time to perfect, since writers will often present persuasive arguments in favour of their views and might not be clear about assumptions they are making or the reliability and validity of their work. In Webinar 3, JD Carpentieri explored approaches for reading critically and making sense of other people’s research findings.
A helpful platform to access a wide range of information, including on-line reports, blogs and articles, is the programme’s Pearltrees site. In particular, you will find the on-line research sources useful if you do not have access to a library or if you are not sure where to start with open access research.
There are numerous models and definitions of critical thinking and little agreement amongst academics about the cognitive processes involved. Moon (2005) argues that good critical thinkers are able to evaluate issues and ideas from different viewpoints (relativistic) rather than from dogmatic, ‘black-or-white’ positions (absolute).
The US Foundation for Critical Thinking offers an interesting perspective on critical thinking in the form of an on-line, interactive model. The model provides useful ways of distinguishing facts from assumptions and for exploring both subjectivity and objectivity in critical thinking.