The University of Southampton
Courses

IFYP0002 Critical Thinking and Research Skills

Module Overview

This module has two elements. First, students are introduced to the key concepts of critical thinking needed to analyse, evaluate and compare arguments and develop different points of view. Secondly students are taught how to research a topic using the resources available at the university. The students use all these skills in the second semester to carry out a research project on a topic related to their chosen undergraduate degree subject.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• develop an understanding of why critically examining knowledge claims is important; • demonstrate a critical capacity to analyse and evaluate your own and others’ beliefs and knowledge claims in a variety of contexts; • understand the selective and interpretative nature of information including personal and ideological bias; • evaluate reasoning of different kinds; • make interdisciplinary connections and synthesise information and arguments; • generate your own arguments and alternatives. • introduce independent research via an extended essay • prepare an extended piece of academic writing • write a reflective research log

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • critical thinking by critically evaluating statements and complex reasoning deriving from them
  • how to accurately assess the nature and strength of justification, even when measures are taken to disguise this
  • the effects of subtle biases and disguised persuasive devices in written, diagrammatic and numerical sources
  • how to select and summarise arguments fully, clearly and accurately and produce your own well developed or critical pieces of successful argumentation
  • the topic selected for your personal research project.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • prepare and deliver oral contributions
  • plan and organise your own learning schedule
  • carry out a literature search using online and library resources.
  • reflect on the research you have carried out
  • prepare, plan and write an extended essay
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • The key transferable skills will be of value in all your future studies.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate evidence, discussion and identify bias
  • present reasoned and structured arguments, both orally and in written form
  • extract and synthesise key information from written and spoken sources
  • understand how to formulate a topic for research

Syllabus

This module is in two parts: 1. In the first part in Semester One, you will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of critical thinking. 2. In the second part, you will conduct a Personal Research Project including an extended essay. This is introduced at the beginning of Semester Two with sessions on preparing the Personal Research Project, (PRP), identifying the research needed under particular topics, a library tour and literature searching. With guidance from your academic advisor you will carry out independent research on your chosen topic. The critical thinking skills you acquired in Semester One are essential for success on your PRP. If you are a student progressing to studio-based programmes at the Winchester School of Art (WSA), you will prepare a portfolio of art work with the support of a tutor in the studios at WSA. In this module you will; a. acquire critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis skills and then later apply these through your PRP. b. learn how to accurately assess the nature and strength of justification, even when measures are taken to disguise this. c. analyse and evaluate the effects of subtle biases and disguised persuasive devices in written, diagrammatic and numerical sources. d. learn how to select and summarise arguments fully, clearly and accurately and produce your own well developed or critical pieces of successful argumentation. Your PRP will show evidence of your critical thinking skills within the topic you have chosen. If you are preparing a portfolio of work at WSA, you will learn how to work independently in an art studio.

Special Features

The essay which forms the core of the second part of the module, the personal research project, is modelled on the extended essay which is now part of the syllabus for the International Baccalaureate. Researching and preparing this essay and then reflection on the project will give you practical preparation for the assignments you will have to carry out as part of your undergraduate studies. If you are a student progressing from the International Foundation year to WSA studio-based courses, the substitution of a portfolio of artwork for the final essay will provide you with specific preparation for the practical projects you will carry out as an art student.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Lectures, seminars, library tour and workshop individual support through your academic advisor and module leader. Learning activities include: Individual study, group and pair work, preparing presentations and discussions in small groups and tutorials. In Semester One you will have one two -hour lecture and one hour long seminar each week. In Semester Two you will have a two one-hour lectures introducing the Personal Research Project and research methods. You will also have a library tour and research workshop. You will have a weekly 15 minute tutorial with your academic advisor, who will support and advise you throughout the whole of the Personal Research Project.

TypeHours
Independent Study258.5
Seminar18
Lecture18
Tutorial
Project supervision5.5
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Haralambos M & Jones R (2003). Critical Thinking for OCR AS level. 

Williams K (2009). Getting Critical. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback ? on oral presentations ? through classroom guidance on critical thinking coursework ? on your work via academic advisors on the development of your PRP ? on written summaries and referencing sources. Formal assessments The assessment will comprise 50% weighting for Critical Thinking and 50% for the PRP. The final mark across both parts of the module will be halved to give a single overall percentage for the module.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Examination 40%
Oral presentation  (10 minutes) 20%
Reflective log 20%
Source analysis  (900 words) 30%
Source analysis  (900 words) 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×