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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking
Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study

First Edition
  • Tom Chatfield - Independent Author, Tom Chatfield is an author, tech philosopher and broadcaster
Additional resources:

October 2017 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Shortlisted for the British Book Design and Production Awards 2018, Educational Books category

Do you need to demonstrate a good argument or find more evidence?  Are you mystified by your tutor's comment 'critical analysis needed'?  What does it really mean to think well - and how do you learn to do it?

Critical thinking is a set of techniques. You just need to learn them.

So here’s your personal toolkit for demystifying critical engagement. I’ll show you how to sharpen your critical thinking by developing and practicing this set of skills, so you can…

  • Spot an argument and get why reasoning matters
  • Sniff out errors and evaluate evidence
  • Understand and account for bias
  • Become a savvy user of technology
  • Develop clear, confident critical writing.

Designed to work seamlessly with a power pack of digital resources and exercises, you'll find practical and effective tools to think and write critically in an information-saturated age.  No matter whether you're launching on your first degree or arriving as an international or mature student, Critical Thinking gives you the skills, insights and confidence to succeed.

In your critical thinking toolkit

  1. Watch the 10 commandments videos – life rules to change how you think
  2. Smart Study boxes share excellent tips to whip your work into shape
  3. BuzzFeed quizzes to test what (you think) you know
  4. Space to scribble! Journal your thoughts, questions, eureka moments as you go
  5. Chat more online with #TalkCriticalThinking

What is critical thinking (and why does it matter?)?
Chapter 1: Understanding the reasons behind things
Chapter 2: Spelling out arguments and assumptions
Chapter 3: Reasoning with logic and certainty
Chapter 4: Reasoning with observation and uncertainty
Chapter 5: Developing explanations and theories
Chapter 6: Assessing evidence and planning your reading strategy
Chapter 7: Getting to grips with rhetoric
Chapter 8: Seeing through faulty reasoning
Chapter 9: Understanding cognitive bias
Chapter 10: Overcoming bias in yourself and others
Chapter 11: Thinking critically about technology
Chapter 12: Putting it all together: critical thinking in study, work and life


Click for online resources

 Access a range of free digital resources to support your teaching:

  1. Interactive sample chapter
  2. Welcome video from Tom ('What is Critical Thinking?')
  3. BuzzFeed quiz to find out what kind of thinker you are
  4. 'About Tom Chatfield' section
  5. Downloadable classroom materials
  6. Downloadable PowerPoint slides to support teaching
SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

Critical Thinking Videos
Watch over 20 videos of author Tom Chatfield discussing Critical Thinking and key ideas from his book, including each of his 10 Commandments.
Critical Thinking Talk
Watch the video recording of the How to Think for Yourself talk, hosted by JS Group and featuring SAGE Study Skills authors Tom Chatfield and Alex Baratta, for some top tips on how to spot misinformation and engage critically with the world.

‘Critical thinking’ is easy to read with an engaging format. As a researcher, I think it will be useful for thinking about written and verbal arguments: helping readers make and recognise an argument, and understand when a valid argument isn’t being made.

Imogen Birch, senior researcher, Citizens Advice

The best illustrated and typeset book in academic publishing.

Lee Fallin
Academic and Library Specialist at University of Hull


Coventry Business School, Coventry University
August 21, 2021

Excellent text for explaining and encouraging critical thinking. Accompanying resources are useful too.

Clare Forder
Brighton Business School, Brighton University
May 6, 2020

I found this book extremely useful to read and translate to working examples for our BSc students. I would therefore highly recommend its use for all of our level 6 learners and will be utilising it for our larger scale intake in September 2019.

Lance Chatfield
technology marine and renewables, City College Plymouth
December 10, 2018

Excellent resource!
Have had much interest from other faculty in several institutions.

Dr Kay King
Administration of Justice, Johnson County Cmty College
September 30, 2019

A very good book which is very well written. I received a copy on time and it's on my reading list.

Dr Kweku Adams
Business Management, York St John University
September 13, 2018

The reasonable price of this text caught my attention immediately, but it was the lively, novel style of the text that "sealed the deal." I expect a Sage text to include comprehensive, top quality information and I wasn't disappointed here. My students love this text -- especially when compared with the style and cost of the book we used previously. Tom Chatfield is my critical thinking guru!

Catherine Pratt
Communication/Humanities Dept, Owens Community College
October 8, 2018

The book is easy and interesting to read with information that is in keeping with the context of education today and up to date with it's examples and scenarios. For example, it uses social media as examples to illustrate key points. This makes it real for the student. A fantastic resource.

Mrs Susan Hutchinson
School Of Health And Social Care, Teesside University
November 21, 2017

This is a very useful supplementary text to assist students in developing a critical 'edge' in their thinking and writing.
Very useful for project and dissertation work.

Mr Peter Beven
Sch of Health,Community & Educ Studies, Northumbria University
January 23, 2018