Topic outline

  • Course Overview

    This course equips you with the skills and habits of critical thinking. It teaches practical techniques for confident, discerning critical engagement with sources, evidence, arguments and reasoning. 

    Learning Outcomes

    The course also:

    1. Builds key reasoning, argument and analysis skills
    2. Boosts writing, essay and exam results
    3. Improves work, planning and research habits
    4. Provides explicit training in a key skill sought by graduate recruiters
    5. Teaches digital and information literacy.

    Please note: to best experience this course, we recommend you use a Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser. 

  • Course Author

    • Dr Tom Chatfield


      Dr Tom Chatfield is an author, tech philosopher and broadcaster. His books explore the skills required to thrive in a digital age, including Critical Thinking (SAGE) and Live This Book! (Penguin). Tom is interested in improving our understanding of digital technology and its uses in policy, education, and engagement. He is currently technology and media advisor at Agathos LLP, non-executive director at the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, a faculty member at London’s School of Life, a Master’s committee member at the Economics Research Council, and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute. Tom speaks and broadcasts around the world on technology, the arts, and media. Appearances include TED Global, authors@Google, Science Foo Camp and the Houses of Parliament. He also guest lectures at universities in the UK and Europe.

      View Bio
    • Module 1: Why bother thinking twice?

      This module covers:

      1. Introducing critical and uncritical thinking
      2. Introducing objectivity and scepticism
      3. Introducing fast and slow thinking

    • Module 2: What's the point of arguments?

      This module covers:

      1. Spotting arguments
      2. Reconstructing an argument
      3. Premise or conclusion?
      4. Challenging assumptions

    • Module 3: How can I argue my case?

      This module covers:

      1. Being reasonable
      2. Reasoning with logic and certainty (deductive arguments)
      3. Reasoning with evidence and probability (inductive arguments)
      4. Evaluating arguments

    • Module 4: What's the best explanation?

      This module covers:

      1. Explanations, hypotheses and theories
      2. Evidence and proof
      3. Causation and correlation

    • Module 5: Why we get things wrong

      This module covers:

      1. The power of rhetoric and persuasion
      2. Seeing through faulty reasoning
      3. Understanding and overcoming bias

    • Module 6: Handling information overload

      This module covers:

      1. The digital context
      2. Making sense of what we are told
      3. Applying critical thinking in digital research

    • Course Closing