- How to Write a critical thinking Essay
- Critical thinking Essay Questions
- Critical Thinking Essay Topics
- Critical Thinking Essay Example
Critical thinking is a system of different judgments that a person analyses information and draws conclusions, assess the work based on what is happening, and give an interpretation. Therefore, critical thinking is thinking at a higher level, thus making it possible to question the information given. As an academic discipline, critical thinking is lined according to rules of logical form, theories, practical arguments, rhetorical arguments, and scientific reasoning.
A critical thinking essay is a type of writing that has the aim of improving the analytical skills of a person. This essay is intended to teach the student the need to carefully read information, utilize doubt, identify the weaknesses in the argument made by others and own argument, work with the concepts provided, and logically express their thoughts.
The goal of a critical essay is to ask and answer the right questions.
Teachers and lecturers usually focus their attention on the quality of the argument
and the steps taken by the student to generate the argument.
Nevertheless, the writer needs to have his or her own stand insofar as the research and conclusions are concerned.
Essay writing is one of the best exercises and experiences of developing critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills help an individual know the ways to deal with information, structure the data, question what has been written, draw conclusions, and make a good argument. Critical thinking skills can be improved through continuous writing of critical thinking essays.
Every essay or article is guided by rules and regulations in order to produce a concise and logical paper. Just like any academic paper, a critical thinking essay has an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. These are the steps on how to write a critical thinking essay.
- Choose the topic or central problem. A student or writer needs to choose a topic that is interesting to them, and there is enough information and evidence to support the topic. Furthermore, the topic needs to be easy to handle and make a great argument. A topic speaks volumes to the reader and hence proper information and evidence need to accompany a topic. A person will sufficiently handle a topic if it is interesting.
- Collect information and compare it to the existing knowledge. What do you know about the topic? A writer or student needs to read the piece of information provided and point out the main issues. Before reading, the writer needs to have formulated a list of questions that can be considered during the reading process. Furthermore, note-taking and writing of your own thoughts is helpful at this stage.
- Generate a thesis statement. This is usually one or two sentences that tell the reader what the paper is all about and the main argument that will be made in the paper. A good thesis statement gives the writer the aim that he or she needs to achieve in the body of the paper or the entire writing process.
- Writing the body paragraph. This paragraph is written after a thorough analysis of the sources and the information provided in those sources. This part carries most of the argument and the information collected from the reading resources.
- Analysing the information. The writer needs to analyze the arguments, evidence, and claims identified. Weaknesses, strengths, and important relationships need to be pointed out at this point.
- Examining different viewpoints. This is the most crucial part of critical writing because it is wrong to consider a certain argument or opinion as correct. Therefore, scholarly evidence and research is needed to support claims.
- Review contexts. What context influences the information written or the evidence attached to a certain argument? The writer needs to consider that their own interpretation might be influenced by several factors including ideology and culture.
- Generate own viewpoint. It is advisable to create an additional paragraph that addresses own opinion. The writer needs to imagine that he or she is part of the discussion and hence explain their viewpoint with evidence. Pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘my’ must be avoided.
- Come up with the conclusion. What are the findings? What is the evaluation? The writer needs to sum up the ideas they came up with during the overview. Define the significance of the findings and give recommendations for future research.
Critical thinking is mastered by asking the right questions. Common questions for critical thinking usually start with the words who, where, what, when, and why. The right questions help an individual think about the context, that is, the causes and effects, the evidence provided, and finding sufficient evidence to support personal claims and arguments. The following questions are helpful in helping students develop critical thinking when writing essays.
Critical Thinking Essay Questions about change
- How has Z become a turning point for Y?
- How has A transformed into B?
- What are the effects of X?
- What are the consequences of R?
- Where is the starting point for this line?
- What are the benefits of reform W?
- What changes can be made to character Z?
- How does A compare and contrast to B?
- What is the significance of F to the education system or any other sector?
- What is the transformation in R based on the interventions in place
Critical Thinking Essay Questions that ask for an evaluation
- What are some of the factors that influenced the kind of decision made?
- How would the other author critique and analyze this opinion?
- How would an opponent defend their opinion?
- How would a supporter construct their claim?
- How can this evidence be applied in another context?
- What are some of the factors that contributed to these solution?
- What changes will take place if this intervention is implemented?
- How can this mechanism generate the same kind of results?
- How can these recommendations help improve the state of location S?
- What are some of the changes that have taken place since the project started?
Critical Thinking Essay Questions that ask for rationale and evidence
- What are some of the examples?
- Is the evidence sufficient?
- What are some of your thoughts on this claim?
- What evidence supports this argument?
- What evidence contributed to taking this kind of direction on the argument?
- Is there enough evidence to support this topic or argument?
- What examples are in line with this opinion?
- How many articles contain the same kind of information?
- How many times has the source been cited? Is it peer-reviewed? What is the evidence as far the topic under study is concerned?
- Who else did the same research? When was the research done? What were the results?
Critical Thinking Essay Questions that ask for synthesis
- How do the two arguments compare?
- What are some of my recommendations?
- What is the importance of this research or study?
- What changes will the recommendations bring?
- What is the importance and value of these recommendations?
- Which is the better option?
- Which opinion carries the most weight?
- What is the relationship between result A and B?
- What are the similarities and differences between intervention X and Y?
- Is option X superior to option W?
Picking a topic for a critical thinking essay can be challenging. Below are several topics that a student can choose from when writing a critical thinking essay:
- Best ways to stop bullying in schools.
- Benefits of friendship
- Knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards complementary feeding.
- Causes of currency crisis in the United States
- Effect of leaders and managers on employees.
- Benefits of medical insurance covers.
- Effects of football on the economy of a country.
- The contribution of SMEs to economic growth in developing countries.
- The impact of drug and substance abuse to academic performance.
- The influence of social media on consumer choices and preferences.
- Contribution of social media to business growth and development.
- Relationship between ethics and research.
- Effect of violence in the media to child growth and development.
- Causes and effects of intimate partner violence.
- Relationship between employment in developing and developed countries.
- How has artificial intelligence transformed human lives? What are some of the dangers that the transformation poses to humanity?
- Best ways to stop and eliminate gender-based violence.
- Effect of global warming to climate change.
- Relationship between politics and governance in developed countries.
- Food security in developing countries.
- Effect of malnutrition to mother and child development.
- The benefits of iron and folic acid supplements to mother and child.
- Contribution of SMEs to employment.
- Communication differences between men and women.
- Consequences of obesity to the individual and society.
- The effects of bullying on the individual and society.
- Importance of sports to an individual and the affiliated institution.
- The effect of homelessness on economic growth and development in Kenya.
- The impact of intermarriage and adoption to individuals and the cohesion in families.
- The impact of body size and modeling on the nutritional profile of young female adults in the United States. This topic can cut across any country of choice. The writer can decide to write on their country of origin or a totally different country provided the evidence is available and the argument is evidence-based and not a personal opinion.
- Differences between single parent and dual parent families.
- The mental and social impact of divorce on children and the spouses involved.
- Examine and write a review of a certain movie, book, or television series. This topic is wide and is applicable to any kind of writing or video that a student needs to write a review on. Writing reviews requires critical thinking skills.
- Effects of doping to athletes and athletics as a sport.
- The impact of tourism on the Kenyan economy.
- Factors that influence the choice of a tourism destination.
- The similarities and differences between the five star hotels and other kinds of hotels. What are the differences in the kind of services offered? Which ones are more preferably according to statistics and why?
- Benefits of incorporating vegetables to a diet.
- The contribution of physical exercise to weight loss.
- The effect of green tea consumption on weight loss and other health benefits.
- The use of marijuana in the medical field. Some countries have legalized marijuana, while other only allow it to be used in the medical field. It is a good topic where the writer goes further into finding out and discussing the contribution of medical marijuana.
- The contribution of women to economic growth in different developing countries.
- The impact of strategic management in different organizations. A writer can choose a case company like Nike, Toyota, or a banking firm and discuss the contribution of strategic management to the growth and development of the company.
- The impact of employee motivation on company development and growth.
- Effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to health.
- The impact of plastic pollution on marine life.
- Comparison between modern forms of agriculture and the traditional forms of agriculture.
- Importance of family to child growth and development.
- Critically analyze Barack Obama’s speech during his presidential inauguration. Analysis of speech can be based on any speech. The students look at the powerful moments in the speech and what was the main focus.
- The influence of gender stereotypes on the identity of people.
It is always good to learn from example. Therefore, the essay below is an example of a critical thinking essay.
The Effects of Plastic Pollution
This essay will discuss the extent of plastic pollution and its impact on marine life, land, and human life based on scientific research and evidence.
According to Bean (2016), plastic pollution is the continuous collection of plastic items, including bottles and other containers in the environment affecting marine life, wildlife, and human beings. Levels of production of plastics are high because they are cheap and durable. Nevertheless, the chemical structure of plastics is unique, rendering them irresistible to the known ways of natural degradation. These ways make plastic pollution prominent in our surroundings affecting water bodies and land. Approximately over 1 million metric tons of plastic goes to the oceans annually from communities living around the coastal areas. This debris harms marine life through interfering with their physiological setup, mechanical injuries, and ingestion. On the other hand, human beings are affected because plastics might affect the normal hormonal functioning (Pettipas, Bernier, and Walker, 2016).
According to Rochmanet al. (2015), over 6 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced globally from the 1950s to 2018 with only 12% being burnt and 9% recycled. In the United Kingdom, approximately 5 million tonnes of plastic are used annually. One-quarter of these is recycled and three quarters go to landfills. According to studies, over 80% of sea bird bodies have plastic debris. By 2050, there might be less fish and more of plastics in water bodies in terms of weight.
According to Moore (2008), more than 150 million tons of plastic were found in oceans in 2012. One primary type of plastic found in water bodies is the nurdles; a micro-plastic carried via cargo ships. Billions of nurdles are spilled into water annually. On estimation, nurdles make up 10% of litter found on beaches with rest of plastics coming from containers of food and plastic bags. Plastics found in oceans degrade over one year but not completely.
According to Xanthos and Walker (2017), plastics have detrimental effects on land. Plastics containing chlorine release harmful chemicals to the soil. These chemicals seep into surrounding sources of water, groundwater, and other ecosystems, causing adverse effects to organisms that feed in these areas or drink the water. Additionally, landfills, sites where waste is disposed, contain high amounts of plastic. There are numerous varieties of microorganisms in landfills that speed up the degradation of waste, including plastics.
Bean, M. (2016). Legal strategies for reducing persistent plastics in the marine environment. [Online] ScienceDirect. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X87800267#!
Moore, C.(2008). Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long- term threat[online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001393510800159X
Pettipas, S., Bernier, M. and Walker, T. (2016). A Canadian policy framework to mitigate plastic marine pollution. [Online] ScienceDirect. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16300665#!
Rochman, C., Tahir, A., Williams, S., Baxa, D., Lam R., Miller, J., The, F., Werorilangi, S. & The, S. (2015). Anthropogenic Debris in Seafood: Plastic Debris and Fibers from Textiles in Fish and Bivalves Sold for Human Consumption. Scientific Reports.1-10
Xanthos, D. & Walker, T. (2017). International Policies to Reduce Marine Pollution from Single-use Plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A Review. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118:17-26