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PSY1101 Critical Thinking

Semester 3, 2020 Online
Short Description: Critical Thinking
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 17 January 2021


Examiner: Michael Ireland


Much of the study in an undergraduate Psychology degree is aimed at teaching students content knowledge in the discipline. However, professionals need to know how to appraise new ideas, arguments, claims, and evidence. Professional success is largely dependent on individuals’ ability to think critically about novel issues that arises and to be able to creatively and critically solve problems. In order to do this, students need to learn how to utilise logic, carefully appraise evidence, and arguments when evaluating claims, and solving problems. Students also need to be aware of the shortcomings of the cognitive processes they bring to critical thinking and problem solving that are likely to lead to less than optimal outcomes. This course explicitly instructs students on the types of biases and distortions that interfere with our everyday ability to accurately form and test beliefs. It also provides them with a varied toolbox of strategies to critically evaluate claims, process ideas and evidence, and construct and analyse arguments.


This course will provide you with the skills you need to think critically and creatively. In this course you will be provided the opportunity to examine your own beliefs, and possible biases, and how these may influence your capacity to make accurate inferences, and provide more objective and unbiased interpretations. This course will provide you with the opportunity to develop skills in analysis, synthesis, and logical deductive and inductive inferences, and problem-solving.. You will learn how to critique evidence and defend decisions based on careful analysis of the available information. Students will learn how to clarify goals, life values, identify conscious and unconscious influences on human behaviour, and how to apply a framework for making accurate interpretations, and clearly communicating and defending these viewpoints.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Understand the role and value of critical thinking in modern society and the workplace;
  2. recognise and defend against the major formal and informal fallacies of human reasoning;
  3. critically evaluate claims that arise from myth, stereotype, pseudoscience or untested assumptions;
  4. apply logic and evidence to critically evaluate and to develop arguments;
  5. articulate a rigorous and objective attitude in thinking and learning;
  6. articulate an understanding of the psychological basis underpinning critical thinking and problem solving skills;
  7. apply critical thinking and problem solving skills when solving applied problems;


Description Weighting(%)
1. What is Critical Thinking and Thinking Creatively 2.00
2. Thinking Critically and Problem Solving 8.00
3. Perceiving and Believing 10.00
4. How Knowledge is Constructed 10.00
5. Language and Thought 5.00
6. Forming and Applying Concepts 5.00
7. Relating and Organising 5.00
8. Constructing and Appraising Arguments 30.00
9. Logic and Inference: Induction and Deduction 10.00
10. Reasoning Critically 10.00
11. Thinking Critically About Moral Issues 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Chaffee, J 2018, Thinking critically, 12th edn, Cengage, Stamford, CT.
(eBook: Thinking Critically, 12th Edition · ISBN10: 1-337-67915-1 · ISBN13: 978-1-337-67915-2.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Davison, JE & Sternberg, RJ 2003, The psychology of problem solving, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Forshaw, M 2012, Critical thinking for psychology: A student guide, BPS Blackwell, Chichester UK.
Forte, I & Schurr, S 1997, 180 icebreakers to strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Hawker Brownlow Education, Cheltenham, Vic.
Halonen, J & Gray, C 2016, The critical thinking companion, 3rd edn, Worth Publishers, New York.
Kahneman, D & Tversky, A 2000, Choices, values, and frames, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Stanovich, KE 2012, How to think straight about psychology, 10th edn, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, Mass.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 52.00
Directed Study 74.00
Online Lectures 13.00
Online Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Online Quiz 1 30 30 21 Dec 2020 1,5,6,7
Written Assignment 1 30 30 11 Jan 2021 2,3,4
Online Quiz 2 40 40 29 Jan 2021 2,3,4,5,6,7

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assignments satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assignment.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Electronic submission of assignments is required for this course. All submissions must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ study desk for this course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic assessment and submission elements. In order to avoid internet issues, on-campus students should upload their assignments electronically using the same computer laboratories. External students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission. External students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

  3. Students are expected to open their university provided email account and check it regularly for personal communication. In accordance with the Electronic Communication with Students Policy and Procedure ( information sent to the student's USQ email account will be regarded as being received.

  4. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use the 6th or 7th edition of the APA Style Manual to format their assignments. The APA Style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Date printed 17 January 2021