Identify what is important:
- What are the key ideas, problems, arguments, observations, findings, conclusions?
- What evidence is there?
- Distinguish critical from other types of writing (eg descriptive); fact from opinion; bias from reasons
Evaluate what you find:
- Explore the evidence - does it convince?
- What assumptions are being made and inferences drawn?
- Is there engagement with relevant, up to date research?
- How appropriate are the methods of investigation?
- Is there a consistent and logical line of reasoning?
- Are there any flaws in the argument?
- Do you agree with what's being said? Why?
- How is language being used (emotive, biased etc.)?
Look beyond what you are reading/hearing:
- What other viewpoints, interpretations and perspectives are there? What's the evidence for these? How do they compare?
- How does your prior knowledge and understanding relate to these ideas, findings, observations etc.?
- What are the implications of what you are reading/hearing?
Clarifying your point of view:
- Weigh up the relevant research in the area
- Find effective reasons and evidence for your views
- Reach conclusions on the basis of your reasoning
- Illustrate your reasons with effective examples
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