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Academic writing in the context of producing quality research articles is something which all academics engage in and there is evidence of increased attention to supporting the development of the writing and subsequent output of academics and research students. However, while scholarly writing is learnt in complex ways, critical thinking is an intrinsic part of such writing, and is highly valued across all the academic disciplines and indeed is a high priority on both employability and citizenship agendas. However, in practice the teaching of critical thinking is difficult and there is a lack of discussion about what it means within the context of the writing process. This study describes a pedagogic intervention with a group of academic staff to support the participants not only to explore critical thinking in their own writing, but also to consider in depth how they would apply this learning to their work with students in higher education. Within the context of an academic writing module on a postgraduate programme for academic staff in higher education, an action research approach was used with participants to improve their understanding of the role of critical thinking in the academic writing process. The data suggests that the pedagogic intervention resulted in greater confidence in terms of participants’ critical writing skills and also supported them to help their own students in the academic writing process. An exploratory model is proposed for critical academic writing encompassing a series of scaffolded in-class activities, virtual peer learning, and tutor feedback – culminating in the publication and dissemination of individual practice-based educational research.
Donnelly, R., Fitzmaurice, M. (2011) Crucial Connections: an Exploration of Critical Thinking and Scholarly Writing. In C.Horvath & J. Forte (eds) Critical Thinking (pp.159-174) New York, Nova Science Publishers.