’This book is relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students and academics.’
Title: Critical Thinking
Author: Tom Chatfield
Reviewer: Andrew Southgate
What was it like?
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how accessible and engaging this book is. Some other texts on the topic can be daunting and challenging to read, with concepts not always being easy to grasp. However, the subject is presented in a user friendly way. The book is interspersed with colourful and eye-catching full page quotes that help illuminate the topic. These could also provide the basis for discussions in seminars. In addition the Top Ten Commandments are presented throughout the book in a similar way, and reflect the stage of the learning journey the book takes you on. The subject matter is relevant, and it was interesting to read the section related to “Fake News”
What were the highlights?
Key points are highlighted throughout the text as though this has been done with a marker pen. There are also “handwritten” notes throughout the book. These are useful to help maintain focus if you have tendency to “skim read” as I found I was drawn to these. While I found these techniques effective it may not appeal to everyone as some might find these distracting; or prefer to make their own in text notes. However, the language used is simple, clear and provides understandable explanations of subjects that can be challenging to understand. For example, Correlation and Causation, and Statistical Significance are presented in fresh and creative ways.
Strengths & weaknesses:
There are a range of methods used to engage the reader in active learning, self-assessments and of course critical thinking! These are effective methods to help review learning and stimulate thinking and reflection related to the topics. One of the great additions is the links to a YouTube # where there are a videos that supplement the information in the text. In addition the Twitter feed allows engagement with other readers and Tom himself to share, discuss and debate the topics. This allows the book to be interactive and ideal for anyone using this as part of a Blended or Distance Learning course.
Who should read it?
This book is relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students and academics. It can support teaching and learning in developing research appraisal skills, writing literature reviews, developing research proposals. The Twitter and YouTube links enable the book to be used in an interactive way for seminars.