Despite debate over its precise meaning (Brookfield 2000), critical thinking has formed a significant part of University education (Brookfield 2000), as well being highly applicable and transferable into most professions. The purpose of this brief report is to first outline the definition of critical thinking before analysing its influence within education.
2.0 Critical Thinking
2.1 Definition of Critical Thinking
Much literature has attempted to define critical thinking, and it appears there is no universally correct definition. When we consider the meaning of critical we may consider it as simply ‘negative and fault-finding’ (Bassham et al 2008). Some describe it has a reflective thinking process (Ennis 2003), or as ‘thinking about thinking’ (Raiskums 2008). However, in a wider definition, Bassham et al (2008) suggests that:
“Critical thinking also means ‘involving or exercising skilled judgment or observation’.
Bassham et al (2008), p 1
Despite differences in definition, most literature (Bassham et al 2008; Pascarella and Terenzini 1991; Heywood 2000; Scriven and Paul 1987; Watson et al 2002) suggests that critical thinking is the term given to a wide range of cognitive skills and intellectual dispositions that would be required to effectively:
• Identify central issues and assumptions
• Analyse and Evaluate arguments and evidence
• Interpret whether conclusions are warranted
• Discover and overcome bias
• Formulate and present convincing reason in support of conclusions
Following these definitions, critical thinking can be considered an intellectual discipline involving skilfully synthesising information that has been gathered (Bassham et al 2008; Scriven and Paul 1987) against intellectual standards of clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, consistency, logical correctness, completeness and fairness (Bassham et al 2008)
2.2 Critical Thinking in Education
Literature offers that the aim of postgraduate education is...