Module Details

IA934-6-FY-CO: Critical Reading And Seminar Skills

Year: 2017/18
Department: Essex Pathways
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Ms Fiona Elsted
Teaching Staff: Fiona Elsted
Contact details: jpsumm

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module is designed to introduce critical thinking skills that students will need in order to function in an academic environment.

Module aims

- To introduce students to the concepts involved in critical thinking
- To enable students to apply the concepts in critically evaluating the work of others
- To enable students to apply these concepts to their own work
- To help students enhance their general reflectivity skills

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module participants should be able to:

- have a deep understanding of who the writer/speaker is addressing
- clearly recognise the position/stance of the writer/speaker
- clearly understand the argument(s) of the writer/speaker
- identify and deconstruct an argument
- construct an argument
- synthesise arguments from different sources
- recognise inadequate evidence and logical fallacies and be aware of how to avoid them in their own writing

have become more proficient in their understanding of:

- the importance of critical thinking in an academic context
- the language and discourse of academic writing
- their academic identity


Autumn term

- learning to learn
- the scope of questioning
- participating in the academic discourse community
- finding and critically evaluating sources including web-based material
- using academic conventions, including ethical approaches to citation
- understanding discourse in academic writing

Spring term

- moving from description to academic discussion, including comparison, evaluation and analysis
- recognising strong and weak argumentation
- constructing arguments through employing appropriate evidence and logic

Summer term

- revision and feedback


An essay of 500 words, non-assessed, due mid-Autumn term; an essay of 1,500 words (due in the first week of the Spring term; 35%) and an essay of 3,000 words (due in the first week of the Summer term; 55%) on which an oral presentation on the essay, in its initial formative stage, will be given in the last half of the spring term (10%).

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module runs over 23 weeks. Autumn and Spring Terms: 10 x 2 hour classes. Summer Term: 3 x 2 hour revision and feedback classes.

There will also be weekly one hour whole group tutorials during which students will ask questions and have the opportunity to participate in a debate. Additional formative feedback sessions for individual students will be provided during weekly office hours, as required.

Learning support

Classes and tutorial sessions; computer labs for internet research, the International Academy Learning Resource Centre with advisor help and the University library.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


  • The module will be based on in-house materials which will be issued during the classes. In addition the students will be referred to selected chapters in the following texts:
  • Browne, M., N and Keeley, S., M. (2004) Asking the Right Questions: 9th ed., Upper Saddle River, Pearson: Prentice Hall
  • Cottrell, S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Porter, B. F. (2002) Fundamentals of Critical Thinking, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Thompson, A. (2002) Critical Reasoning: 2nd ed., London, Routledge
  • Waters, M. and Waters, A. (1995) Study Tasks in English: units 2 and 3, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Note: Any of the above texts may be withdrawn and replaced in the event of better suited materials becoming available.

Further information