As a student, you may have heard your teacher repeatedly chastising you for being too descriptive and not nearly analytical enough. Careful application of independent reasoning to issues in determining whether they are true or not is a skill that most students are seldom endowed with. Critical thinking essays, unlike descriptive or narrative ones, involve a tough process where the writer has to reason a problem out in a judicious and meticulous fashion and think about all sides of an issue.
A critical thinking essay is more reflective as it requires one to let go of all kinds of dogma, superstition, biases, and preconceived notions before making their analysis. It is an intentional process that requires you to approach a problem logically and come up with a solution. For example, if someone says the earth is spherical, you may immediately jump to an affirmative answer, not because you have any evidence, but because that’s what and how you have been taught, and because everybody else believes it.
Therefore, when writing a critical thought essay, you have to agree, disagree or offer an alternative solution, all with solid reasoning, logic, and evidence.
What is a Critical Thinking Essay? A Brief Introduction
How much information do you accept and give a pass to without even a second thought? In fact, most of the information that we routinely process is as a result of intuition, reflex, faith, religion, culture, inherited opinions, education, common sense, emotion, etc. Think about poetry, articles, textbooks, movies, songs, and general literature. All these have been created by others within their own contexts and biases. Therefore, accepting these as blatant truth or lies without fully considering your own thoughts (and those of others) on the matter is the very antithesis of a critically thought essay.
It may easily be assumed that these essays require you to “criticize” an idea, as the name suggests. This is far from true, and even if the criticism is necessitated, it should only be after thoughtfully reasoned consideration. Essays on critical thinking require a methodical, analytical assessment, looking and considering each perspective carefully and settling on sound judgment.
Critical Thinking Essay Writing Guide – Top Tips for Success
The descriptive portions of critically thought essays are only important for informing your reader about the background, contexts and others’ opinions on the subject. Independent analysis always takes precedent when it comes to writing these essays. Being analytical starts with finding the proper sources and assessing them for their strengths and weaknesses. Are you able to showcase new perspectives and support, refute or make improvements to the ideas of others while remaining independent in your thought process?
Rationalizing means being able to sift through information and finding the best evidence, without undue external influence, and while questioning your own thoughts and beliefs. You should be able to provide confidence in your own thoughts and beliefs, and even though there are no biases when writing an essay on critical thinking, you should take a stance and fully defend it.
Backing Up Your Information
The level of information that you’ll cascade obviously depends on your audience and your academic level. For example, if you are contributing a doctoral article to a scientific journal on “Causes of Cancer” you have to provide very detailed evidence and astute information on the subject. It may not be possible to prove your point beyond a reasonable doubt; however, you must provide sufficient evidence and enough salient points to build your main line of thought and create a compelling piece. Your overall argument is also your main hypothesis, stance or position. Contributing arguments are external evidence which support your reasons.
In addition to your own arguments, you have to be mindful of opposing views. You have to adequately describe why these are wrong. Be mindful of the audience that you are writing for or presenting to.
How to Start a Critical Thinking Essay – Title to Conclusion
Before writing a critical thought essay, you have to settle on a topic. This should be something within your scope of understanding. Check your rubric and any other previous assignments to understand the grading requirements. A superbly written essay will have a clear stance on the essay topic. Likewise, have you provided enough evidence to support all your arguments and claims? If you’ve used others’ work as part of your own submissions, have you properly attributed them? Is your work clear and succinct? Are your transitions logical and do they flow naturally? Have you paid attention to specific requirements such as the formatting, citation technique, and length?
The opening introduction paragraph is composed of the hook, which is an anecdote, an important statistic or fun fact which captures your reader’s attention. This directly leads to the essay question which provides the problem and its context, and your hypothesis, which is your stance on the issue. In the introduction, there should be no ambiguity about your position on the matter or what question you are answering.
The next body paragraph should be your first argument, introduced by a topic sentence and supported by evidence either thematically or by weight. Your presentation and structure will depend on your desired impression and how you want to engage the reader’s logic. After your arguments, you should refute the main opposing views. You could start with a phrase such as “while it is widely believed…this is far from true”.
Conclude your essay by wrapping up the main points and reiterating your hypothesis. You can also state any further directions which you think the study could take.
Critical Thinking Essay Questions | Knowing What to Ask
The right questions allow you to settle on the right kind of evidence and make a correct analysis of such things as context, data, and cause-effect, etc. The primary purpose of any critical essay is to evaluate, and you can simplify the thought process by focusing on the following subjects in your evaluation:
- Who? Who is responsible, who’s affected etc.?
- What? What will this lead up to, what will be the best action etc.?
- When? When will something happen, when can we expect a result?
- Where? Where can this idea be applied, where can more information be obtained?
- Why? For example, why is this problem relevant?
- How? For example, how can we solve the problem?
Your assessment could also be more detailed, for example, your question could ask for an evaluation, a description, evidence, synthesis or rationale of a problem or subject.
50 Great Examples of Critical Thinking Essay Topics
Picking a topic for your critical thinking essay is usually the toughest part of the assignment. Now that you know what these essays entail, you can spend less time picking a topic and more time perfecting your writing with the suggestions provided below:
- Is China a case study of success in Communism?
- Was Tesla’s wireless electricity transmission a feat years ahead of its time?
- Has social media made the world a more dangerous place?
- Is AI truly a danger to society?
- Is the earth hollow as evidenced by blurred out NASA photos of Antarctica and the Arctic?
- Can the Old and New Testaments co-exist logically?
- Is there a possibility of Kit Marlowe being the ghostwriter behind most of Shakespeare’s work?
- Is God a passive figure in our lives or does He intervene in every detail?
- Who made the ancient pyramids?
- Have modern food preservation methods contributed to cancer?
- Is there an age where one should or shouldn’t get tattoos?
- Why haven’t we gone back to the moon if we have the resources and more advanced materials science?
- Why can’t both tobacco and alcohol be illegalized?
- Is formal education a pre-requisite for success?
- Does upbringing have anything to do with the high suicide rates in Japan?
- If marijuana is not a performance enhancer, should sports players be allowed to indulge?
- Should we enjoy our best lives on earth or preserve ourselves for an after-life?
- Why does the Federal Reserve which is privately owned and controlled print and lend money to the US Treasury?
- Do children from single-parent families have a higher affinity for violent behavior?
- Why is the US spending $700B on its military annually if it isn’t preparing for war?
- Is Trump the catalyst of nationalist and racial violence in the US?
- Will there be a World War 3?
- Can America’s debt of $21 trillion possibly be ever paid?
- Does the utility of the Hyperloop justify its potential cost?
- Why does Shakespeare prefer a Moorish General for his titular character in Othello?
- Has “The Simpsons” accurately predicted future events?
- Does Marshall Law take precedence over the right to bear arms?
- Did Barrack Obama live up to the promise of his 2004 DNC speech?
- Does the Davinci Code’s claim that Christ has a lineage have any basis according to historical evidence?
- Can the world’s food production be sustained without GMOs?
- Are left-handed people generally more talented or gifted?
- Have big oil companies frustrated efforts towards greener earth?
- What is the historical cause of the conflict in Gaza?
- Is Vladimir Putin necessary in a world where Donald Trump grows increasingly isolationist?
- Should non-consensual sex in marriage be considered rape?
- Has MTV downgraded black culture?
- Should culture (g., FGM) be allowed to thrive even if it goes against the modern moral fabric?
- Is it still necessary to learn a base programming language with complex syntax such as C as opposed to learning a simpler one such as Python?
- Is Facebook allowed to use customer data to their own discretion seeing as people sign a T&C agreement?
- Should young people below the age of consent be allowed to play American Football or Rugby knowing the dangers to health they pose?
- Are Ivy League schools biased towards admitting wealthier or more prominent students?
- Has Hollywood lost its content?
- Is the cost of higher learning justified in this day and age?
- What would happen to all our money if the internet were to disappear?
- Was Napoleon an effective leader?
- Is Johnny Depp perfectly suited for every role that he has acted?
- Is the US a nation hooked to personal debt?
- How can rampant corruption and mismanagement be dealt with in Russia?
- Is Donald Trump right about China having unfair trade practices?
- With recent discoveries in Antarctica, are we closer than ever to discovering an extraterrestrial race?
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