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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

What is critical thinking?


Definition of critical thinking

Critical thinking can be defined as:

"being  thoughtful , asking  questions , not simply accepting as true, everything your read/hear".
– Williams cited in the Institute for Academic Development 2015

It is not about being negative or trying to find something wrong.

When you are thinking critically, you are analysing (breaking things down), evaluating (making judgements based on evidence) and synthesising or creating (putting parts together into a coherent whole).

Critical thinking is about asking good questions, identifying bias, challenging ideas, finding credible evidence, reflecting on your own learning and transferring these skills to your professional practice.

Critical thinking is like an onion … as you peel off one layer (begin to analyse the argument), there is another layer (more questions), and another layer (deeper questions) … and on … and on.