April 06, 2014

First entry on Introduction to critical thinking

Workshop Tutor: Lisa Faulkner


In the Critical Thinking Workshop, we were shown the importance of thinking critically at MA level. We were shown that critical evaluation was perhaps the key aspect of a Masters Degree.

In order to practice our critical skills, we were firstly given example job adverts to scrutinize. After that, we were given passages of texts that described human behaviour in different species of birds. Our task was to decifer what was plausible and what was not plausible.

We were then taken through example exercises of logical or illogical statements. Bearing in mind the validity of arguments, our task was to work out what was a logical statement and what was an illogical statement. We learnt that even if an argument were invalid, it coud still be logical as long as the conclusion followed its premises. In order to challenge us further, we were shown even more complicated examples which could be construed in different ways. In a similarly difficult manner, our next task was to work out the premises and conclusion of an argument from a passage, no matter how muddled it was.

The workshop ended by showing some of the most common logical fallacies people use in everyday arguments and discussions. We left the workshop with a sheet of example exercises to do at home, in order to improve our critical deciphering of illogical arguments.

I believe the workshop gave a good summary of the importance of critical thinking in a Masters degree and in every day life in general. The workshop gave us the critical and analytical tools in order to evaluate what are strong and weak statements as well as what are logical and illogical arguments.


  1. My First Action Point will be to see how writers construct their arguments and to see whether or not they are always logical in the next 3 to 4 weeks.

    While reading and researching for my remaining essay and dissertation, in the next 3 to 4 weeks I will try to critically evaluate how history writers construct and argue their points and whether they do it effectively or not.

  2. My Second Action point will be to complete the exercise sheet on logical fallacies and try to identify these in every day debates over the next 4 to 5 weeks.

  3. My Third Action Point will be to analyse and challenge political debates and discussions on tv and radio over the next 5 to 6 weeks.

    Closely linked to my Second Action Point, I will try to challenge the arguments I read in history books and the arguments I hear on the radio and tv. By challenging arguments such as political debates, I will be able to see if they really stack up and then conclude whether or not they are strong or weak arguments.

  4. na

To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills//blog

- 3 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. David Walker

    Dear Professor Lisa Faulkner,

    Apologies for the late post, I was unable to post it soon after workshop for I had other deadlines to meet at the end of the Spring Term.

    That said, I have managed to do it now and I am currently working on the skills presented in the workshop.

    David Walker

    06 Apr 2014, 14:31

  2. Mary Sage

    Hello David

    Lisa Faulkner is on annual leave at the moment, so I have agreed to comment on her students’ blog entries until she is back.

    It seems that you have taken some very good learning points from the workshop and developed some excellent action points as a starting point from which to develop your critical thinking skills. What I’m not quite so clear about is what you are going to do as a result of looking at how effectively various writers construct logical arguments – how are you going to develop better critical thinking, and ultimately writing skills yourself. So when you do your follow up blogs I’d like you, as far as you can, to identify specific benefits to yourself from engaging in this process.

    I look forward to reading your next blog if Lisa is still on leave.

    Best wishes

    Mary Sage

    10 Apr 2014, 15:22

  3. David Walker

    Dear Mary Sage,

    Thank you for your feed back, I have taken your comments into account.

    I have one question however: why have my recent posts not shown up on my blog? The recent updates only show up once I have logged into my blog. Is there a way round this problem? I have tried using the option tabs but nothing seems to change.

    Thank you

    David Walker

    10 May 2014, 17:50

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