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The Importance of Critical Thinking to Your Study Skills

A critical thinker brings her own knowledge, experience and judgment to consider the accuracy or value of any information she has acquired through personal study. She also knows that how good information is depends, to some extent, on the person who gives it and the qualities they bring: in other words, their expertise.

A bi-lingual Russian and English speaker is likely to provide a more accurate translation into English of a Russian newspaper article than an English person who has been learning Russian for six months. The critical thinker understands the usefulness of statistics, but also knows they can be used badly.

Critical thinking establishes patterns between events. The more times an event happens in relation to another event, the more likely there is to be a connection between the two. For instance, the number of children who catch measles increases as the number of children vaccinated against measles falls each year.

The critical thinker checks the questions which data – and the researcher’s interpretation of those data – answer. She accepts nothing (in academic terms) at face value, without evidence and evaluates everything, including her own work, within this framework.

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