Critical thinking is an entire system of approaches and methods one applies to analyze a certain piece, be it a literary text, scientific article, or a work of art. The main element of every critical thinking work is a strong argumentation. There is one significant challenge all students encounter when composing critical thinking papers. Unlike most other assignments (narrative or descriptive), this one requires you to present your ideas instead of retelling and using the solutions you have found elsewhere.
Your professor will pay special attention to your argument and the way you develop it. So you should be consistent and reveal your ideas in a logical manner. This means that the time has come to use an entire arsenal of your analytical and writing skills.
If you don’t know how to deliver a winning paper, then keep reading this guide. You will find some practical tips and advice on how to create an A-winning piece.
Before you start writing: What is critical thinking essay?
Writing a critical thinking paper, you need to be rational. These essays are less about creativity and more about logic. Your main task is to define connections between ideas and learn how they work. Reasoning is the key here.
As a writer, you need to perceive a text from many angles. This is the only way to understand what are the main ideas and how to solve problems you face. You can use additional sources to support your arguments, but try to provide your own evaluation and solutions.
The writing process
- Come up with a strong thesis
Your entire piece will depend on the thesis statement. This is your central idea and all further paragraphs will serve to support and reveal it in more detail. In a word, this is your main focus.
A common mistake for most students is including obvious facts or subjective opinion in a thesis statement. This is a mistake, because such an approach will lead you in a wrong way. Your task is to state an argument that can be proved by the evidence, not an opinion or piece general information.
- Make an outline
Outlines are important because they help writers keep their essay structure in order. Also, having a rough outline, you won’t forget something important while writing. You can make it more or less detailed, but be sure to include all the necessary points to keep them in mind. This will save your time during the writing process.
There are two purposes of an introduction – providing your readers with a background to let them realize what you are going to do and engaging them into your ideas. Present the main idea and your position in a brief but compelling manner. To grab audience’s attention, you can add statistical data, striking fact, provocative question, or even an anecdote (it depends on your topic).
- The body paragraphs
All of your further paragraphs will work together to prove and develop your thesis statement. Remember, one paragraph should include one idea. Each of them should have an introduction sentence, argument, quotations (if needed), and conclusion. In a word, each paragraph should be structured the same as your entire paper. If you are not sure that you know how to do that, review some critical thinking essay examples on the web.
If you present concepts that might be unknown to your readers, make sure to explain them. Add details and background information to let them understand the point better. In general, essays on critical thinking discuss different elements and components, value of the work, main ideas and their efficiency, historical background, etc.
Now all of your arguments should be summed up. You need to remind the main idea to your readers and restate the thesis statement. Reread your paper one more time and think about everything you have discussed. What are the solutions you can offer? Maybe, you want to encourage your readers to rethink some ideas? Can you explain how the discussed theme affects the audience? Connect all of your arguments and formulate the last paragraph basing on what you have got. Don’t use quotations or new information in a conclusion.
- Revise, revise, revise
After you are done with writing, you have an editing and revising session ahead. If you have enough time before a submission, put your paper aside for a couple of days. Come back to it later and define if your arguments are strong enough. Time will help you to develop a distance between you and your work, so you will define uninteresting and weak parts easier.
- Mind the format
Keep up with an assigned formatting style. Cite all books and journals you have used in your paper and provide a reference list in the end.
- Start early
It is a rare case when a last-minute paper brings you an A. Try to start your paper early and you will have more time to create something worthy.
So keep these tips in mind and get to work! If you face challenges during the process, don’t worry – everything comes with practice. Once you will grasp how to use critical thinking methods, your essays will become better. Grow as a writer and good luck!