Ever felt frustrated that your message isn't understood? Ever felt nervous about speaking up?


Asking and responding to questions is fundamental to developing knowledge through critical thinking. In fact, critical thinking can be thought about as the art of asking questions (Hobson, 2002). When we are thinking critically, we are not just thinking passively and accepting everything we see and hear. We are thinking actively. We are asking questions about what we see and hear, analysing the issues, considering different points of view, evaluating the supporting evidence and deciding our position. Read our Hints and Tips Sheet on promoting critical thinking. Also review ideas about asking Questions effectively.

Promoting critical thinking

Here are some suggested questions for promoting critical thinking:

  • How do I/you plan to...?
  • What are the main reasons for my/your proposed action?
  • Are there other perspectives/alternatives that should be considered? What are they? How do they differ from my/your proposed action?
  • What evidence is relevant here? How does it relate to my/your proposed action?
  • On balance, then, what do I/you think is the most appropriate to...?

Please note: These questions are a guide only. They need to be modified according to the year level of individual students, their experience in the particular context and familiarity with particular issues/topics etc.