- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 What is critical reading?
- 1.1 Looking at what you believe
- 1.2 Two meanings of ‘critical’
- 1.3 Thinking about what a text is saying and doing
- 1.4 Facts and opinions
- 1.5 Hedging
- 1.6 Supporting opinions through evidence and examples
- 1.7 Using evidence from other sources
- 1.8 Style and language
- 1.9 Context
- 2 Summarising
- 3 Being a critical reader
- 3.1 Introducing the two texts
- 3.2 Preparing to read the two texts
- 3.3 What is the text Anthropathology saying and doing?
- 3.4 What is the text The science of evolution saying and doing?
- 3.6 Comparing the two texts
- 4 Summary
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How to be a critical reader
In this unit you will focus on how to be a critical...
In this unit you will focus on how to be a critical reader. Reading critically is an essential skill at university. It means being aware of your own purposes and opinions as you read and being able to recognise the writer's purposes and opinions in their writing.
In this unit you will:
- consider the importance of examining your own attitudes to texts
- practise asking questions about the author, the type of text and the context of texts
- distinguish between facts and opinions in texts
- consider the importance of evidence to support claims and of the reliability of this evidence
- identify hedging as a technique used by writers to express opinions and avoid making unsupported generalisations
- identify the organisation of argument texts
- read a text critically
- compare two texts on a similar theme from different disciplines.
How to be a critical reader
In this unit you will focus on how to be a critical reader. Reading critically is an essential skill at university. It means being aware of your own purposes and opinions as you read and being able to recognise the writer’s purposes and opinions in their writing.
The texts used in this unit all present arguments in different ways. Argument texts are common across disciplines. For example, science texts will provide evidence to support theories, perhaps the rough laboratory experiments; texts in social sciences will debate the theoretical aspects of a range of topics. Whether you are studying humanities, social sciences, science or technology, you will need to judge whether a text is an appropriate and reliable source. Some texts will be more factual than others and some will attempt to influence your opinions.
The purpose of the questions you ask in this unit will be to evaluate what you are reading. As you do the activities you will develop your ability to read critically by asking questions about:
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
- the source of the text and the status of the author
- which subject area the text is from and your own knowledge and opinions on the subject
- the author’s beliefs and attitudes and how these are expressed in the text
- what the text says and does and how
- what the author’s purpose is in writing
- the use of evidence to support claims and the balance of fact and opinion.