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Writing an essay: referencing and critical thinking

Proof and Reasoned Judgments


  1. Make sure that the reference you are using is appropriate.
    • Does it set out to illustrate the point you are trying to make.
    • Is the reference from a piece of work that is both relevant to your field of study and the level that you are studying at?
    • Use of appropriate referencing builds up and supports your argument.
  2. Make sure that you acknowledge the work of others.
    • Referencing can help avoid plagiarism. Unless you indicate where your sources the reader will automatically assume that you are passing off someone else’s work as your own.
    • Remember you are building on from someone else’s work, give that author the credit.
    • Work that needs to be referenced includes documents; academic papers; books; journal articles; newspapers; internet sites.
  3. There are several different styles of referencing.
    • You need to be aware of the different styles, with subtle differences.
    • You need to have sound knowledge of the referencing system that you need to use for your essay.
    • Remember that what ever reference style you are using you must provide a Reference section at the end of your work that provides a full list of the all works that you have cited.

Critical Thinking:

  1. This is about not making hasty judgments, or making statements in your essay that cannot be supported by information that has been proven through scientific research and statistical analysis.
    • You may have an opinion that you and a group of friends share. This opinion may not have any logical or reasoned information to support it, so it is not critical thinking.
    • An opinion that is not based on logical or reasoned information is unsubstantiated and therefore vulnerable to criticism.
    • If you do not get your information from reliable sources then again your opinion is unsubstantiated and therefore vulnerable to criticism.
  2. Developing Critical Thinking.
    • By Writing - writing helps organize your thoughts. When your thoughts are down on paper it is easier to see what information you already have, what you need to know and where you are going to find the information you need.
    • To develop your Critical Thinking skills you need to have a question. Sounds easy enough, but many student has not achieved Critical Thinking because they did not understand the question in the first place. Make sure you know exactly what s being asked of you, by reading and reading the question and essay instructions.
    • Present your argument logically.
  3. Remember
    • Acquire Information from suitable academic sources.
    • Integrate the Information (into your argument)
    • Logically analyze and present the information.