Module Title: Study Skills and Critical Thinking
Module Code: THE400
Credit Points: 20 Credits
Compulsory or Optional: Compulsory
Excluded combinations or modules: None
Mode of attendance: Mixed
This module is designed to prepare and support students to study effectively for their degree programme and produce coursework assessments to undergraduate standards. While the general themes introduced will be transferable, students will be encouraged to focus on the application of these skills to their course subject area. The module is taken throughout the first year to ensure that students are given the appropriate opportunities to advance their personal and academic study skills and to introduce them to the concept and value of researching in order to prepare them for continuing undergraduate study.
Knowledge and Understanding
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Communicate appropriately in a variety of academic contexts using relevant vernacular. Know and apply use of English and grammar in preparation and presentation of their academic writing during their course.
2. Identify and appropriately use primary and secondary resources for academic research. Develop independent and self-study skills to direct their academic performance and research projects.
3. Understand the role and purpose of peer-assessment and tutor-feedback. Recognise the distinctiveness of learning [critical thinking] in pursuing Higher Education qualifications.
4. Know and use the vital study skills and strategies they acquire for their future research and life careers.
The course covers a range of key study skills including in particular the following: time management; critical thinking, academic writing, examination techniques; maximising the potential of lectures and seminars; assignment preparation – essay questions; assignment preparation – problem solving techniques; dealing with case studies; effective research skills; referencing; Harvard referencing; avoiding plagiarism; interviewing skills; working in groups and preparing for individual and group presentations; writing critically: book reviews; reflective writing; understanding assessment criteria; effective note-taking; understanding tutorial feedback and completing literature reviews.
Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy
Students will interact with the SMART strategy for learning,
Strategic: which assist in achieving respective learning outcomes and goals
Measurable: you can tell when you have completed them
Achievable: you are likely to succeed in meeting them
Realistic: they fit the circumstances
Time-bound: you have a set time to meet but flexible: you can adapt them if the circumstances change.
Staff-led lectures introduce students to the study skills required for undergraduate studies. The course is a practical and interactive one with sessions delivered by ‘scene set’ lectures, workshops, practical exercises, role play sessions etc. In particular students will receive guidance on practical ‘real life’ assignment scenarios reflective of individual student subject study areas.
Set short writing of pieces of work to evaluate writing skills (formative assessment) provides valuable practice in the art of critical thinking and academic writing. Discussion groups act as a focus for further development of topics concerning case studies, enabling students to prepare for a summative assignment on the effective study skills.
Students will be introduced to Personal Development Planning and produce a personal development folder
Students will meet with their personal tutor and write a brief report of the outcomes of that meeting.
Tutorial time enables Tutors to give formative feedback on draft essays, guidance to students on developing their presentations and constructive feedback on summative work. Independent study to supplement these activities is an essential element of the programme, including reading and producing the module assignments.
• Short pieces of writing (formative assessment)
• Essay Plan (formative assessment)
• Report of tutorial with personal tutor (summative assessment)
• Personal Development Folder (summative assessment)
• Group presentation on any of the topics in relation to effective study skills (summative assessment) and report on group presentation 1000 words (summative assessment)
• Essay 2000 words (summative assessment)
Presentation and report 50%
McMillan, K. and Weyers, J. (2012) The Study Skills Book: Smarter Study Skills 3rd edn. Essex: Pearson Education Ltd.
Ackroyd, R. and Major, D. (2011) Shaping the Tools: Study Skills in Theology: Exploring Faith. London: DLT Ltd.
Greetham, B. (2014) How to Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation: Palgrave Study Skills 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Northedge, A. (2005) The Good Study Guide. New Edition, Open University. Milton Keynes
Aveyard, H. Sharp, P. & Woolliams, M. (2011) A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Thinking and Writing, New York: McGaw-Hill
Burns, T, & Sinfield, S. (2012) Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University, London: Sage
Cotterall, S. & Morris N. (2012) Study Skills Connected: Using Technology to Support your Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Copus, J. (2009) Brilliant Writing Tips for Students. Pocket Study Skills, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Currie, D. (2005) Developing & Applying Study Skills: Writing Assignments, Dissertations and Management Reports, London: Chartered Institute of Personnel Development
Dolowitz, P. (2008) Researching Online, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Godwin, J. (2009) Planning Your Essay. Pocket Study Skills, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Godfrey, J. (2012) How to Use Your Reading in Your Essays, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Open University (2008) Communicating and Presenting, Milton Keynes: Open University
Williams, K. (2009) Getting Critical. Pocket Study Skills, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan
Williams, K. (2009) Referencing & Understanding Plagiarism. Pocket Study Skills, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan