Skip to Main Content

Critical Writing & Thinking_: Critical Thinking & Writing

Critical Writing & Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the process of challenging traditional notions, perceptions, understandings, and knowledge, to establish a deeper understanding of a subject or event and improve or build upon contemporary knowledge and skills. Processing information that you receive in an evaluative and investigative way. Asking questions about the material.

Compare Traditional Thinking to Critical Thinking


Traditional Thinking

Critical Thinking

Acquiring and retaining information without questioning.

A commitment to seeking the truth and establishing valuable information.

Maintaining the status quo, continuing ‘doing things as they have always been done.

Seeking to improve skills and behavior based on new information, or interpretations for the better.


What is critical analysis? How to critically evaluate information or an experience?

Critical analysis requires that you challenge conventional knowledge, ideas, and situations, where they originate from, and how are they connected to other ideas, knowledge, and situations.  This requires that you read widely and are knowledgeable about the various sources that pertain to what you are analyzing.

Critical Analysis

Critical analysis is an opportunity for you to broaden your knowledge, deepen your understanding, and refine your skills and practice.

Critical Analysis is part of Critical Thinking. Once you have learned 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). 

Why are we asked to use Critical Analysis?

Learning to look at a body of work or a subject and noting how all the individual pieces of information about that topic relate to one another means gaining a strong knowledge of the subject. Strong knowledge of subject matter leads to the ability to have independent ideas and opinions. This independence of thought will enable you to have a true understanding of a subject, enabling you to create solid content and become leaders in your area of expertise. 

How to write critically

To write critically is to present current understandings, and knowledge of an idea, or situation, and then evaluate this information and where possible draw connections that may form new ideas and perceptions.

It is important to evaluate any information, sources, ideas, or situations before you can begin to make logical connections or draw conclusions.

Critical Thinking Template

Critical Writing Template

Types of Analysis

Different Types of Analysis

  • Expand on or Develop knowledge, practice, or understanding

Support current knowledge, understanding, or practice by using various sources to support your position.

  • Evaluate

This may involve evaluating various theories or models.

  • Connections & Conclusions

Draw connections and conclusions, how can knowledge, understanding, and theories work in a real-world environment?

Critical Thinking