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How Do You Use Critical Thinking in a Research Paper?

Written by CB Community

Critical thinking is the most important intellectual trait and a precursor to research. It involves analyzing information, considering alternative viewpoints, and finding solutions to problems.

With that said, critical thinking remains a misunderstood skill, and most students fail to apply it in academic papers.  This post is a guideline for using critical thinking in a research paper.

In order to provide an overview of a topic, a writer must thoroughly understand the topic. Modern academic education involves absorbing new information and evaluating existing assumptions. When students study something, they are expected to go beyond their current understanding and explore new areas.

Before you apply critical thinking in your research paper, make sure you understand what critical thinking actually means. Writing a critical thinking paper is not just about writing a summary of a specific topic.

Here are some steps students can follow in order to use critical thinking in their research papers:

Step 1: Read and Research

Reading the assignment materials and engaging with the lectures are two major ways to achieve learning objectives. You are expected to learn at least the fundamentals of the topic. Your reading should not be sporadic.

Consult the assignment directions and choose materials that you actually need in order to have a fairly good understanding of the topic.

For foundational knowledge, you will not have to go beyond your textbook. But critical thinking requires going deeper. Reading more is the key. Identify the subject experts and read their works.

The internet has made it easier to find scholarly sources. Find reliable sources of information and absorb the information. Make sure your reading is contextual. Always keep the main purpose in mind.

The process gets tough, tedious, and time-consuming if you don’t know anything about the topic. Many students with part-time jobs use professional writing services these days. And it works in a pretty straightforward way.

A busy student can easily get in touch with a critical thinking writing service, choose a writer, and order a paper. Even serious students can benefit from writing services.

Step 2: Evaluate

You are then required to apply the information you have gathered. To do that thoroughly and logically, you have to observe, reflect, analyze, and evaluate the information.

At first, the task may seem time-consuming and tedious. However, the procedure of evaluating information should be assimilated with your thinking process.

Your evaluation of the information should conform to the intellectual standards. The standards will sometimes challenge the way you think. Your ability to evaluate information largely determines your qualification as a writer.

Step 3: Write

As we have already discussed, you need a lot of preparation before you hit the keyboard. Make sure you have a fairly good understanding of the topic before you write a paper or answer a question.

When you clearly know what you are writing about, articulating your thoughts will be a lot easier.

The introduction is one of the most important parts of a research paper. If you can figure out how to write the introduction, the rest is likely to go smoothly. Start with a purpose. And as you write, keep the purpose in mind.

See the writing prompt and determine what the key points will be and what information you need to focus on. Structure your thoughts in the best possible way.

Explain the theory, concept, or model thoroughly. Write the paper in your own words; don’t copy sentences from other sources.

You may need to use quotes or dictionary definitions, but do not rely on them entirely when explaining the topic. The writing should reflect your own voice and personality.

Also, relate the topic to real-life scenarios. Examples can be used to illustrate and elaborate on the key points. Let your readers know what your observations are. If there are moral implications, mention them.

Support your opinions and assertions with facts. Avoid making claims without citing reliable scholarly sources. This is one of the most important tips for writing research papers. Be sure to stay on track throughout the paper.

You can include supporting content but don’t let that overshadow your original thoughts.

On any submission, the supporting content should not exceed 20%. Use ideas from other sources but don’t do that for the sole purpose of replacing your own thoughts.

Even if you are using a writing service, proofread the paper carefully before you submit it.

Final Thoughts

Using critical thinking in a research paper requires commitment and a willingness to go beyond the norm. It also requires a lot of reading and analysis before you put pen to paper.

The application of critical thinking in your writing can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming, but the outcome is always highly rewarding.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.