A Model of Critical Thinking in Higher Education

  • Martin Davies
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 30)


There has been no shortage of definitions of the concept of “critical thinking” over the years and the concept has been subject to much detailed scholarly work. In social and educational terms critical thinking is an important topic. Of late, critical thinking has also been widely discussed in the popular media, and the concept has been regarded as one of the most important graduate outcomes expected of a university education. However, despite this, scholars have yet to arrive at a holistic conception of critical thinking—a model of critical thinking as it were—that might usefully underpin the range of considerations about critical thinking that occur in the higher education literature. This paper: (1) reviews the various definitions and approaches to critical thinking, and (2) incorporates them into a single, coherent model. A number of disagreements in critical thinking scholarship are outlined as ‘axis disputes’ arising from the proposed model.


Critical thinking Higher education Argumentation Critical pedagogy Criticality Critical dispositions Critical attitudes Critical citizenship Delphi definition Cognitive elements Propensities Skills Judgments 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneCarltonAustralia

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