Critical Thinking in Academic Research
Cindy Gruwell, Ferry Pass, Florida
Copyright Year: 2022
Publisher: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Conditions of Use
Critical Thinking in Academic Research thoroughly covers the basics of academic research for undergraduates, including well-guided deeper dives into relevant areas. The authors root their introduction to academic research principles and practices... read more
Critical Thinking in Academic Research thoroughly covers the basics of academic research for undergraduates, including well-guided deeper dives into relevant areas. The authors root their introduction to academic research principles and practices in the Western philosophical tradition, focused on developing students' critical thinking skills and habits around inquiry, rationales, and frameworks for research.
This text conforms to the principles and frames of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, published by the Association of College and Research Libraries. It includes excellent, clear, step-by-step guides to help students understand rationales and techniques for academic research.
Essential for our current information climate, the authors present relevant information for students who may be new to academic research, in ways and with content that is not too broad or too narrow, or likely to change drastically in the near future.
The authors use clear and well-considered language and explanations of ideas and terms, contextualizing the scholarly research process and tools in a relatable manner. As mentioned earlier, this text includes excellent step-by-step guides, as well as illustrations, visualizations, and videos to instruct students in conducting academic research.
(4.75) The terminology and framework of this text are consistent. Early discussions of critical thinking skills are tied in to content in later chapters, with regard to selecting different types of sources and search tools, as well as rationales for choosing various formats of source references. Consciously making the theme of critical thinking as applied to the stages of academic research more explicit and frequent within the text would further strengthen it, however.
Chapters are divided in a logical, progressive manner throughout the text. The use of embedded links to further readings and some other relevant sections of the text are an excellent way of providing references and further online information, without overwhelming or side-tracking the reader.
Topics in the text are organized in logical, progressive order, transitioning cleanly from one focus to the next. Each chapter begins with a helpful outline of topics that will be covered within it.
There are no technical issues with the interface for this text. Interactive learning tools such as the many self-checks and short quizzes that are included throughout the text are a great bonus for reinforcing student learning, and the easily-accessible table of contents was very helpful. There are some slight inconsistencies across chapters, however, relative to formatting images and text and spacing, and an image was missing in the section on Narrowing a Topic. Justifying copy rather than aligning-left would prevent hyphenation, making the text more streamlined.
(4.75) A few minor punctuation errors are present.
The authors of this text use culturally-relevant examples and inclusive language. The chapter on Barriers to Critical Thinking works directly to break down bias and preconceived notions.
Overall, Critical Thinking in Academic Research is an excellent general textbook for teaching the whys and hows of academic research to undergraduates. A discussion of annotated bibliographies would be a great addition for future editions of the text.
(As an aside for the authors, I am curious if the anonymous data from the self-checks and quizzes is being collected and analyzed for assessment purposes. I'm sure it would be interesting!)
The book has in depth coverage of academic research. A formal glossary and index were not included. read more
The book has in depth coverage of academic research. A formal glossary and index were not included.
The book appears error free and factual.
The content is current and would support students who are pursuing writing academic research papers.
Excellent explanations for specific terms were included throughout the text.
The text is easy to follow with a standardized format and structure.
The text contains headings and topics in each section.
It is easy to follow the format and review each section.
The associated links were useful and not distracting.
No evidence of grammatical errors were found in the book.
The book is inclusive.
The book was informative, easy to follow, and sequential allowing the reader to digest each section before moving into another.
This book provides a comprehensive yet easily comprehensible introduction to critical thinking in academic research. The author lays a foundation with an introduction to the concepts of critical thinking and analyzing and making arguments, and... read more
This book provides a comprehensive yet easily comprehensible introduction to critical thinking in academic research. The author lays a foundation with an introduction to the concepts of critical thinking and analyzing and making arguments, and then moves into the details of developing research questions and identifying and appropriately using research sources. There are many wonderful links to other open access publications for those who wish to read more or go deeper.
The content of the book appears to be accurate and free of bias.
The examples used throughout the book are relevant and up-to-date, making it easy to see how to apply the concepts in real life.
The text is very accessibly written and the content is presented in a simple, yet powerful way that helps the reader grasp the concepts easily. There are many short, interactive exercises scattered throughout each chapter of the book so that the reader can test their own knowledge as they go along. It would be even better if the author had provided some simple feedback explaining why quiz answers are correct or incorrect in order to bolster learning, but this is a very minor point and the interactive exercises still work well without this.
The book appears consistent throughout with regard to use of terminology and tone of writing. The basic concepts introduced in the early chapters are used consistently throughout the later chapters.
This book has been wonderfully designed into bite sized chunks that do not overwhelm the reader. This is perhaps its best feature, as this encourages the reader to take in a bit of information, digest it, check their understanding of it, and then move on to the next concept. I loved this!
The book is organized in a manner that introduces the basic architecture of critical thinking first, and then moves on to apply it to the subject of academic research. While the entire book would be helpful for college students (undergraduates particularly), the earlier chapters on critical thinking and argumentation also stand well on their own and would be of great utility to students in general.
This book was extremely easy to navigate with a clear, drop down list of chapters and subheadings on the left side of the screen. When the reader clicks on links to additional material, these open up in a new tab which keeps things clear and organized. Images and charts were clear and the overall organization is very easy to follow.
I came across no grammatical errors in the text.
This is perhaps an area where the book could do a little more. I did not come across anything that seemed culturally insensitive or offensive but on the other hand, the book might have taken more opportunities to represent a greater diversity of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
This book seems tailor made for undergraduate college students and I would highly recommend it. I think it has some use for graduate students as well, although some of the examples are perhaps little basic for this purpose. As well as using this book to guide students on doing academic research, I think it could also be used as a very helpful introduction to the concept of critical thinking by focusing solely on chapters 1-4.
Table of Contents
- I. What is Critical Thinking?
- II. Barriers to Critical Thinking
- III. Analyzing Arguments
- IV. Making an Argument
- V. Research Questions
- VI. Sources and Information Needs
- VII. Types of Sources
- VIII. Precision Searching
- IX. Evaluating Sources
- X. Ethical Use and Citing Sources
- XI. Copyright Basics
- Works Cited
- About the Authors
About the Book
Critical Thinking in Academic Research will introduce students to the techniques and principles of critical thinking. However, a commitment to lifelong learning is required for critical thinking, it takes more than a single course or reading a book. In order for students to develop their own arguments, they need to find supporting evidence. This text provides guidance on developing research questions and finding resources to answer the questions.
This textbook is adapted from four sources. Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research which addresses information literacy and research-based assignments. In addition three texts: PHI-130 Critical Reasoning, and Critical Thinking: Analysis and Evaluation of Argument – Version 3 provide the foundation for critical thinking in relation to research. The authors thank all for their work and willingness to openly share with other educators.
Choosing & Using Sources: A guide to academic research by Ohio State University Libraries, is licensed under CC BY 4.0 Modifications: Text revised for clarity and flow
Critical Thinking: Analysis and Evaluation of Argument by Martha Bailey, Shirlee Geiger, Hannah Love & Martin Wittenberg licensed under a CC BY 4.0. Modifications: revised for clarity and flow
PHI -130 Critical Reasoning by Thomas Edison State College is licensed under CC BY 4.0 Modifications: Revised text for clarity and flow
About the Contributors
Cindy Gruwell is an Assistant Librarian/Coordinator of Scholarly Communication at the University of West Florida. She is the library liaison to the department of biology and the College of Health which has extensive nursing programs, public health, health administration, movement, and medical laboratory sciences. In addition to supporting health sciences faculty, she oversees the Argo IRCommons (Institutional Repository) and provides scholarly communication services to faculty across campus. Cindy graduated with her BA (history) and MLS from the University of California, Los Angeles and has a Masters in Education from Bemidji State University. Cindy’s research interests include academic research support, publishing, and teaching.F