Smart Thinking Skills for Critical Understanding and Writing by Allen.
SMART THINKING is a practical, step-by-step guide to improving skills in analysis and critical thinking, and the effective communication of arguments and explanations. With an accessible and straightforward style, this book is of great use for students at university and also final-year school who are looking to improve their analytical skills.
This second edition treats reasoning as an aspect of communication, not an abstract exercise in logic. It not only provides detailed advice on how to practice better analytical skills, but also demonstrates their application to finding information and writing more coherently. The focus in this book is on improving one’s own reasoning rather than simply reading others’ arguments. In particular, SMART THINKING emphasises how to develop arguments that are coherent and take account of their audience and context.
Features of this new edition include:
an updated glossary, a guide to further reading, and a guide to important skills additional advice on casting and developing arguments a new chapter at the end of the book that demonstrates, in an extended example, the skills learnt in the book a more thorough treatment of how to find and use information via reasoning, and exercises and review questions in each chapter to enhance knowledge and test readers’ skills.
This second edition reflects the experiences of teaching with Smart Thinking over the years since it was first published. In revising it, I have found that much of what I had originally written remains valuable, and that students have learnt from it. But I have also made some significant changes, including greater assistance in the earlier chapters to help readers with the more complicated skills and concepts, as well as expanding later chapters on reasoning and on research. The final chapter is now a fully worked example of the skills that underpin the whole book, providing a model for readers of the power and value of the approach I am outlining. I would hope that readers will now find the sometimes-confusing journey towards greater ability in critical thinking and reasoning just that little bit easier, and with a clearer goal ahead.
In writing the second edition, I have been aided greatly by Jane Mummery and Robyn Mayes, both fine teachers of critical thinking, who have struggled with the problems of the first edition in teaching Applied Reasoning and have generously provided advice on how I might improve it. To them both, I owe a great deal. I also wish to thank Christine Richardson with whom I taught elements of critical thinking and who gave me the opportunity to develop further my ideas about reasoning and research. To my long-suffering publishers at Oxford University Press, especially my editors Lucy McLoughlin, Anne Mulvaney, and Chris Wyness, great thanks and apologies for all the delays. Perhaps they could ask the government about its neglect of higher education and the consequent doubling of workloads since I wrote the first edition. And to Jane and Verity, this book is still and always for you both.