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2.8 What gains marks

As you have learned from the previous videos, writing and critical thinking are interconnected: good writing starts with good thinking. Good critical thinking, therefore, generally makes the difference between getting a higher or lower mark in your assignments (Cottrell, 2013).

In your academic work, your lecturers will be looking to see if you can:  

Make connections between ideas, concepts and theories.

Evaluate your beliefs and the evidence supporting them.
Break information down and put it back together in different ways.Identify your own biases and the limitations of your knowledge.
Look at issues from different perspectives and recognise patterns and contradictions.Develop and articulate your own view on an issue.
Identify the purpose and significance of information, and how it fits into the ‘bigger picture’. Suggest and evaluate solutions to problems.


Overall, your lecturers will expect you to be intellectually independent and avoid accepting knowledge unquestioningly. No matter how 'authoritative' you consider a source or author to be, you'll need to guard against taking information at face value by breaking ideas down and judging their strength and value. A good way to start is to pay attention to fine detail and look at things from different perspectives.

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