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Critical Thinking

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

© 2018 | 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

Lecturers, request your electronic inspection copy here.

SAGE Study Skills
are essential study guides for students of all levels. From how to write great essays and succeeding at university, to writing your undergraduate dissertation and doing postgraduate research, SAGE Study Skills help you get the best from your time at university. Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

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.

Chatfield's text was a no-brainer. I could see immediate applications in our skills modules, being easily incorporated into my teaching approach and materials - full of things that can help develop a set of skills that students sometimes find elusive.

Dr Russell Delderfield
Academic Skills Advice, Bradford University
October 21, 2017

An excellent book that engages form page 1. Students look the format and layout and have really engaged with the ideas, suggestions and advice.

Mrs Caroline Knight
Children,Health, Adventure & Public Services, South Devon College
October 2, 2017

A great Resource for undergraduate study skills.

Dr Martyn Harling
Rehabilitation & Ageing Division, Nottingham University
October 2, 2017

Tom Chatfield brings a freshness and earthiness to the topic of scholarly thinking. He writes clearly to an audience of students -- you can imagine the conversations in the classroom, real or virtual. He successfully adds layers of communication. The book is essentially a three-dimensional conversation.

The core text covers a myriad of advice and discussion regarding the practical nature of critical thinking. It is enhanced by annotations and highlighting. While these may be potentially distracting for a conventional reader (oh dear!), they do two important things. First, they validate the asides that pop into a reader's mind all the time. Secondly, they give permission for the text to be a living text. It is messy and begs to be messier. Quirky graphics do what cartoons have always done -- make the obvious, sometimes cutting, comments -- in ways that serious texts may stultify or avoid.

The book provides an accessible entry for both undergraduate and postgraduate audiences interested in understanding both study and research methodology. It will assist research students to maintain intellectual rigour in their work. All that is missing is the Very Short Version, for the student who does not understand they they need to learn critical thinking.

Bill Boyd
School of Env Science & Mgmt, Southern Cross University - Lismore Campus
September 25, 2017

A good quality book which helps the reader to develop critical thinking and writing skill that will last a lifetime.

Dr Nicoleta Gaciu
School of Education, Oxford Brookes University
August 28, 2017

Fun to read which helps in the challenge of critical thinking. Useful exercises and notes to support students in understanding and applying critical thinking. Tom's enthusiasm is catching.

Mrs Kerry Lemon
Health and Social Care, Newcastle College
August 23, 2017

This is an engaging text, suitable for use across a range of topics and disciplines. It does not go into too much depth and its informal style works well for undergraduates and post graduates coming to terms with criticality. Offers some useful frameworks and guidance. A good resource for students and tutors.

Dr Jane Jackson
Department of Education, The Open University
August 8, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Understanding the Reasons Behind Things

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For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

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ISBN: 9781473947146
ISBN: 9781473947139