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Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument

Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument

Cottrell, Stella

Ideal for students who are mystified by lecturer comments such as 'more analysis needed', this title takes the art of analysis and breaks it down into easy-to-understand blocks, with clear explanations, good examples, and plenty of activities to develop understanding at each stage

Paperback, Book. English.
2nd ed.
Published Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
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Statement of responsibility: Stella Cottrell
ISBN: 0230285295, 9780230285293
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Previous ed.: 2005.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xiv, 282 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Series: Palgrave study skills
Subject: Education.; Study skills.; Critical thinking Study and teaching.; Critical thinking.
Series Title: Palgrave study skills.


  1. Introduction
  2. Glossary
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. What is Critical Thinking?
  5. How Well Do You Think? Develop Your Thinking Skills
  6. What's Their Point? Identifying Arguments
  7. Is it an Argument? Argument and Non-Argument
  8. How Well Do They Say It? Clarity, Consistency and Structure
  9. Reading Between the Lines: Recognising Underlying Assumptions and Implicit Arguments
  10. Does it Add Up? Identifying Flaws in the Argument
  11. Where's the Proof? Finding and Evaluating Sources of Evidence
  12. Critical Reading and Note-Making: Critical Selection, Interpretation and Noting of Source Material
  13. Critical, Analytical Writing: Critical Thinking When Writing
  14. Where's the Analysis? Evaluating Critical Writing
  15. Critical Reflection
  16. Texts for Activities
  17. Practice Activities on Longer Texts
  18. Appendix
  19. Bibliography
  20. Index

Author note

Stella Cottrell is Director for Lifelong Learning at the University of Leeds, UK. She is the 3/4 million copy best-selling author of The Study Skills Handbook, The Palgrave Student Planner, The Exam Skills Handbook, Study Skills Connected, You2Uni and Skills for Success, a key text on personal development planning.


The second edition of this leading guide helps students to develop reflective thinking skills, improve their critical analysis and construct arguments more effectively. Written by Stella Cottrell, leader in the field with over 1/2 million book sales to date, this text breaks down a complex subject into easily understood blocks, providing easy-to-follow, step-by-step explanations and practice activities to develop understanding and practise your skills at each stage.  Essential for students who are mystified by tutor comments such as 'more critical analysis needed', this is an invaluable tool for anyone wishing to develop advanced skills in this area and learn to apply them to tasks such as reading, writing and note-taking.
Now in two-colour, this edition has been fully revised and contains a brand new chapter on 'Critical Reflection' along with additional material on essays and referencing.

Description for teachers

The second edition of this leading guide helps students to develop reflective thinking skills, improve their critical analysis and construct arguments more effectively. It is written by Stella Cottrell, leader in the study skills field with over 750,000 book sales to date.


'I think this book is strong: clear, concise and relevant' - Liesl Schwabe, Yeshiva College, New York

'I liked this book - it is fun and new!' - Julie Engstrom, Brigham Young University-Idaho

'I found this text very useful not only for students but also for newly appointed staff teaching Academic Skills. The activities are most useful for the novice lecturer in particular to developing their own style while using this text as a guide' - Ann Anka, Havering College of Further and Higher Education

'I really endorse this book both for its clear and structural approach and its use of humour to more fully engage its audience' - Deidre Kelleher, University College Dublin

'One of the best texts for general critical thinking around at the moment. very good value for money' - Victor Glynn, Oxford University