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   ► KBRole-Based T...Technical Wr...General, Get...   Print This     
  From the March 2010 Issue of Prestwood eMag
 
Tech Writer General, Getting Started, etc.:
Critical Thinking in technical writing
 
Posted 7 years ago on 1/19/2010
Take Away:

Critical Thinking skills comes automatically as a writer becomes experienced over a period of time. Learning to write and transforming the ideas into writing help develop critical thinking aspects/skills. A clear set of phases/activities are inititated in the human brain as part of critical thinking. This article helps to understand the learning basics, learning process and the impact of writing that drives critical thinking skills. This is a good read for all our technical writing friends across the globe.

KB102099



Are you a good thinker? Do you put in your thoughts and devise a proper flow before you start writing information? Do you have critical thinking skills?

All these questions come into our minds especially if the person is an experienced writer. Yes, of course, experienced writers have good critical thinking skills and this has been proved. A writer has very good critical thinking skills. Writing helps to improve in analyzing your ideas, transforming them into thoughts, enabling critical thinking and putting the right things at the right place in the right time. Over a period of time, as the writer develops their writing strengths, there are multiple skills that may get evolved which the writer might not know to themeselves. In this article, let us look at critical thinking aspects by getting into the basics of information gathering process with focus towards the basic learning process and transformation of learning by writing.

Information includes text, graphics that has some context for the person at the receiving end. Usually in a computer, after the input is fed, processing starts in action and produces the final result as output in the form of information.

Once you start gathering text that contains facts, figures, rules, procedures, you start including them to be made available as information to the end user. As with the example of computer, the human brain is compared to the central processing unit that has the capabilities of processing the content and providing output as information.

Of course, it has also been proved from an interesting study by Ian J.Quitadamo and Martha J. Kurtz that learning to write is an effective method for learning to think critically. This skill of thinking critically develops automatically as you start learning to write information.

When you start writing information about a topic/domain/matter of interest, the first process is towards planning the content. Once this is done, you start gathering information about the topic. After all the necessary information is gathered, you further step into analysis phase making decisions, applying your thinking, ascertain facts, etc. During these phases, you start developing your thinking skills. These thinking skills acquired include the following phases:

  • Planning 
  • Analysis
  • Observations
  • Inferences
  • Evaluation
  • Assessing

All these set of phases/activities are inititated in the human brain as part of critical thinking.

Firstly, you start to plan towards the written text, analyze or break down information into smaller chunks, read information closely, make observations and draw some inferences from the context. Later, from the inferences drawn, you start evaluating the information and start assessing at what level do you stand with respect to the information context. 

Hence, technical writing or writing of any information is considered as a key enabler towards learning to think critically.

A big hats off to all the critical thinkers whoever have helped transform their thinking into a form of documentation.


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Article Contributed By Ramesh R:
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