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Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Curriculum for Faculty: Student Resources

Links to Student LibGuides

The LibGuides listed below are a resource. They cover some mechanics of writing, avoiding plagiarism, reading analytically, and thinking critically. 

  How We Think

How we think affects how we write; how we read affects what we think.

Often we could make different inferences based on our perspective concerning the book, or a situation presented. We all wear "glasses" through which we read, view, and perceive the world. Thinking critically about the materials you read will help clarify what the book, article, newspaper, etc. says (or does not say, but infers).

 

This situation below  is primarily from the  Foundation for Critical Thinking's website. A few details were changed here for the purpose of this Libguide:

For example, you are out on a Friday night, and it is about 9PM. You are with a friend. You BOTH see a man lying in one the sidewalk, near a doorway. One of you infers, based on your "glasses"  There’s a drunken bum.  The other of you thinks, Oh, that person is possibly hurt.  “There’s a man in need of help.” These inferences are based on different assumptions. Moreover, these assumptions are connected to each person’s viewpoint about people. The first person assumes, “Only drunks are to be found like this.” The second person assumes, “People are capable of finding themselves in a difficult situation, and may be in need of help.”

The first person may have developed the point of view that people are fundamentally responsible for what happens to them and ought to be able to care for themselves. The second may have developed the point of view that the problems people have are often caused by forces and events beyond their control. The reasoning of these two people, in terms of their inferences and assumptions, could be characterized in the following way:

Person One

Person Two

Situation: A man is lying on a sidewalk.

Situation: A man is lying on a sidewalk.

Inference: That man’s a bum. Inference: That man is in need of help.

Assumption: Only bums lie in gutters.

Assumption: Anyone lying in the gutter is in need of help.