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2.3 Thinking at university

When you start your studies, you become a member of an academic learning community that constantly seeks to re-examine and advance knowledge through research and debate. This process of ongoing inquiry is similar to a conversation through which scholars, building on each other's work, create new knowledge in their fields. 

As Cottrell (2013) indicates, universities play an important role in:

Critiquing existing understandings

Encouraging research into new areas

Leading debate on contemporary issues

Stimulating economic development

Generating new understandings of the world


Your lectures, tutorials and assignments will offer you the opportunity to join current debates in your subject, “to dig deeper below the surface of the subject you’re studying and engage in critical dialogue with its main theories and arguments” (Cottrell, 2011, p.8).

In other words, you'll be both gaining knowledge and contributing to its creation; therefore, you'll need to develop your capacity to think more critically and creatively.

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