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Assessment Support

Template for all student academic writing lib guides

Critical Thinking, Critical Analysis and Critical Reflection are terms commonly used to describe the type of writing necessary to complete an academic writing task. The terms are similar and may seem confusing!

So, what's the difference?

 

CRITICAL THINKING CRITICAL ANALYSIS CRITICAL REFLECTION

Processing information that you receive
in an evaluative and investigative way.
Asking questions about the material.

Breaking information into components
to compare and evaluate ideas. 
Assessing or evaluating a process
or event and deducting conclusions.  

What is Critical Analysis?

Critical Analysis is part of Critical Thinking. Once you have learnt to think critically you can analyse information by dissecting it into components to discuss, showing how each component interrelates. Often when writing a critical analysis for an assignment it will require you to explain a concept or multiple concepts and how they connect with each other. You will also need to reiterate these ideas and make it clear to the reader what you are saying.

Sometimes students make good points in their assignments but fail to develop them.
After one or two sentences setting out the idea they move on to another. Good academic communication involves exploring ideas thoroughly and explaining them in detail," (Wallace, Schirato & Bright, 1999, p. 89). 

For more on building solid arguments in assignments see Building Arguments 

This is a great video explaining Critical Analysis and provides examples of what it is and how to you could write critically in your assignments.