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Critical thinking and reading - Skills Guide: Home

Critical thinking and reading

What is critical thinking and reading?

We often receive feedback that we should ‘analyse our sources more deeply’, ‘read more widely’, ‘compare and contrast’, ‘analyse rather than describe’, ‘use evidence to support your statements’. These (and many other) phrases all relate to critical thinking and reading, which is the ability to consume information, understand it (and it’s context), think about it’s deeper meaning, evaluate and analyse it, and apply it.

Why do I need to learn it?

Learning to read and think critically can have a great deal of benefits:

  • You will feel better informed and more knowledgeable about the subject.
  • Your ability to work with complex concepts and present them in your work will improve.
  • The quality of your arguments in your work will improve.

How do I critically analyse

Use the critical thinking activities and resources linked on the right-hand side of the page to get started. A guide to reading the different parts of common information resources (such as journal articles, books and reports) and how to critically analyse are linked in the tab at the top of the page.

Critical Thinking Toolkit

The Critical Thinking Toolkit is a psychometric measure of your beliefs and attitudes about critical thinking. If you follow this link then you can complete the measure. It will give you feedback about your scores, and average responses to the different components of the questions. It also contains a further link that offers advice and strategies for being more critical in your assignments.

The Critical Questions


Selected books on critical thinking and reading available through our libraries:

Other useful guides

You may find these other guides useful