Tips on How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay

Susan Wilson, 5 January, 2019
Updated 20 November, 2020

It’s easy to make hasty judgments based on our own opinions. However, critical thinking is a complex process that requires a student to analyze vast amounts of information and come up with a valid yet unbiased argument. Writing critical thinking essays will require you to read more on the provided topic, research, contemplate the text meaning, and add your own thoughts.

The final grade for your essay will also be based on your writing skills and ability to analyze the given facts to form a logical yet unbiased argument. To be an expert at writing these types of papers, you must be able to think rationally and clearly while at the same time allowing both the research and your thinking to determine the outcome. Sounds challenging, right? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you understand what critical thinking is and how to go about writing these assignments.

What Is a Critical Thinking Essay and Its Importance?

If you are a college or university fresher, a professor might ask you to write essays on critical thinking. This paper is often used by lecturers and instructors to gauge students’ ability to produce unique ideas based on the provided information. In short, what the teacher means when they ask you to think critically is to add your own view on a provided piece of work, which can be a book or any other scholarly text.

The purpose of this paper is to test a student’s analytical and writing abilities as well as how good he or she is at presenting an argument and backing it up with substantial evidence. However, to do all that, you must have an open mind. While it’s normal to have a strong opinion about a particular topic, the correct critical thinking process requires a student to be willing to consider views or ideas that objectively differ from their own. Apart from using critical thinking in an essay, you can also use the skill in a professional setting such as a workplace.

How to Start a Critical Thinking Essay in a Way That Captures Attention

It’s easy to assume that an essay starts with a thesis. However, that is far from the truth. A great critical thinking assignment begins with a question. Next, you need to do research, read widely, and come up with a good thesis that answers the question. For example, if your topic is on gun control, you may be for a pro-gun argument from the get-go. However, as you do more research, you may find information that influences your thinking and gives you a different angle on the topic.

To start writing a critical thinking paper, ask the right questions, and answer them. Use the questions to carefully read through your research, find weaknesses in what the author is trying to express, and work with the concept to develop a strong argument, and express your thoughts on paper.

Easy-to-Understand Critical Thinking Essay Writing Guide

To develop critical thinking skills, your writing has to be on point and clear. The paper should also be organized and focused on a particular topic. Since there is no room for your thoughts to stray, your essay should follow the outline below.

  • Create a thesis

Just like any other academic paper, a critical thinking essay is based on the thesis, so you need to do extensive research and give thought to the subject you want to discuss. To get a thesis, choose a central argument, and gather enough information to be used in the body paragraph.

  • Write a catchy introduction.

The introduction of the paper should explain the topic in one or two sentences. In the first lines, you also need to create a thesis statement that acts as a hook. Also, use fresh ideas to grab the reader’s attention.

  • Write interesting body paragraphs.

The best way to write engaging paragraphs is to have an outline. With an outline, you will know how many paragraphs the main body will have and what each paragraph will discuss. In your essay, every paragraph elaborates on a specific idea and supports data to give weight to what you’re saying. The body should have at least three paragraphs that will analyze the information, examine different viewpoints, and include your own perspective.

  • Have a strong conclusion

Finally, the paper should have a conclusion containing at least one or two paragraphs. The paragraphs should paraphrase and summarize the paper’s main ideas and point out any parts that need further research.

The Best Critical Thinking Essay Questions for Students

The foundation of a great essay on critical thinking starts with asking the right questions. The why what, where, who, how, and when questions will help you think deeply about a particular topic and find evidence to back up your points. Here are some questions that have limitless applications and can stimulate your critical thinking.

  • Why questions
  1. Why is this relevant to me, others, or a society?
  2. Why do most people believe this to be true?
  3. Why should people know about this topic?
  • What questions
  1. What are the consequences of this?
  2. What factors have influenced the decision?
  3. What is another perspective?
  • How questions
  1. How can the solution be applied in other situations?
  2. How does the decision affect the future?
  3. How is this similar to that?
  • Where critical thinking questions
  1. Where would this be used in a real-life scenario?
  2. Where will this idea take us?
  3. Where in society would this be a solution?
  • Which questions
  1. Which option is better?
  2. Which is another perspective?
  3. Which adds more value?

Critical Thinking Essay Topics for All Grade levels

Picking topics for any essay can be challenging. The trick is to choose a topic that you have some background knowledge about and that which you fully understand. Here is a list of topics that can stimulate your writing process:

  • Organic food and impact on a healthier lifestyle
  • The effect of monetary rewards on employee performance
  • The role exercise plays in body image
  • Impact of divorce on young children
  • Youths and gun violence
  • The pitfalls and benefits of childhood sports
  • The role of language in culture and identity
  • Voting rights of felons
  • Homeschooling public schooling
  • Civil War is the main reason for increased illegal immigrants
  • The use of torture on suspected terrorists
  • Factors that influence the life choices and fate of young criminals
  • Ethics of professional athletes’ salaries


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