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Student Name: Yik Lung Ng Email: Samsonnghaha@yahoo.com.

hk
Class: Pol Sci 001 Section: 1134

CRITIQUE #1: On the Importance of Critical Thinking and Critical


Writing in the Social Sciences
1. What is critical thinking and how is it distinguished from noncritical thinking?
Instead of having a negative meaning, the word critical in critical
thinking is a neutral word which means examining ideas thoroughly and
deeply, think twice before accepting ideas rather than blindly accepting
them at the first glance.
As for critical thinking, it means making effort to control the conscious
thinking process rather than just passively receiving information from the
environment and let our brain process those information innately by our
human nature of thinking. Our awareness of how we think is a critical factor
which makes a difference between critical and non-critical thinking.
According to Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau in their book entitled Critical
Thinking, Reading, and Writing, we come fully aware of an idea or an action,
reflect on it, and ultimately during critical thinking process.
When we are aware of how we think, we generally go through 4 steps
while thinking. They are summarize, analyze, synthesize and evaluate.
Summarize means getting the main idea(s) from the source of information
without adding our own thoughts or opinions. Analyze means breaking the
materials into tiny components and discover how they relate to each other.
Synthesize means creating a new material by connecting your own

Student Name: Yik Lung Ng Email: Samsonnghaha@yahoo.com.hk


Class: Pol Sci 001 Section: 1134

experience and knowledge to what you have summarized and analyzed.


Finally, evaluate means the judgement about the quality and credibility of
the material. It should be noted that critical thinking is not a linear process
and we may go back and forth between the steps when we are engaging in
critical thinking.
To conclude, critical thinking occurs when we are aware of how we think
and when we dont accept information easily without evaluating the
credibility of it by going through the 4 stages of critical thinking process. As
for the difference between critical and non-critical thinking. Rather than
thinking them as black or white, they are more like the opposite sides in a
color spectrum. The more awareness and deepness we put when we are
thinking, the more critical we are.
2. What is the importance of critical thinking and critical writing in
the conduct of academic work?
Critical thinking is important in the conduct of academic work as the
ability to think critically contains a wide range of skill set which are critical to
implement any academic work. As Peter A. Facione said in his article Critical
Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts, critical thinking skills include
interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation and selfreguation. When conducting academic work, it is important for the scholar to
expose himself/herself to a lot of information about a subject matter before
they form their hypotheses or conduct their researches. Hence it is important

Student Name: Yik Lung Ng Email: Samsonnghaha@yahoo.com.hk


Class: Pol Sci 001 Section: 1134

for them to be able to extract important information which are useful for
their own thesis, and to find relationship between different information in
order to get insight so as to come up with novel and original ideas. Moreover,
the ability to inference helps to develop causal relationship between different
factors or events which is important to the credibility of an academic work.
As for critical writing, it usually consist of 3 parts. The first part is to
summarize the main idea of a specific subject matter that you are going to
respond. The second part is a transitional passage to connect your summary
to your response and finally comes to your response to a subject matter
based on your personal experience and knowledge. Academic paper with
good reliability and validity should involve critical writing to provide
background information of any arguments and provides evidences for your
own point of view.