Critical Thinking In Health And Social Care


This module focuses on developing the skills of critical thinking and reasoning. Effective critical thinking and reasoning supports effective practice. This module helps qualified practitioners in health and social care to evolve their professional practice in ways that remain focused on solutions and constructive outcomes for the people who use their service. It explores how practitioners think, make judgements and reach decisions, within their own service setting and within inter-professional and/or multi-agency settings. It identifies how different models of supervision can be utilised to maximise a critical approach to practice and how research can be usefully integrated into the practitioner's professional knowledge to support, rather than restrict, their professional autonomy.

Module Code: HEA4172
Level: 7
Credits: 20
Cost: £640 Price for Sept 2017 to Jul 2018

Who is this module for?

The module is applicable to any professional practicing in health and social care who is currently registered with their professional regulator. The content and delivery of the module focuses on the transferrable skills that all health and social care professionals need to develop effective and accountable professional judgement and decision making.

What are the key aims of the programme?

This module highlights contemporary theory and research and promotes practice that promotes a constructive professional curiosity. It aims to enable practitioners to further develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to critical thinking and reasoning to enable and support more effective practice and better outcomes for users of health and care services.

Building on a range of emerging practice frameworks in health and social care and the new joint working arrangements evolving through the integration of health and social care under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, this module aims to develop enhanced critical thinking and reasoning skills that are soundly based in a clear understanding of the profession, evolving social trends, health and social policy priorities and research evidence.

What will I study?

• Fast thinking, slow thinking and critical thinking.
• The principles of reflection.
• Making the most of supervision - models and methods.
• The place of research within essential professional knowledge for practice.
• Effective collaboration with other services.
• Locating current practice within the wider demographic changes and evolving need and the related legislative, policy and guidance frameworks

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment and feedback will take place via SWOT analysis and action planning exercise located within the individual tutorial element of the module.

CW1 - 2000 words - case study analysis

CW2 - 2000 words - Critically reflective analysis of own and others' professional reasoning, outputs and outcomes of a recent multi-agency or inter-professional practice experience.

On successful completion you will:

Critically analyse sources of knowledge used in professional decision-making within their area of practice to evaluate their validity in decision making.

Demonstrate effective critical thinking and reasoning process in professional decision-making.

Critically evaluate the purposeful application of critical reflection in their practice.

Critically analyse the role, practice models and underlying assumptions of other professions relevant to inter-professional/multi-agency working within own area of practice.

Study Dates and Venues

April 2018 S3A

Venue: Ormskirk Campus

Starts: Thu 19th Apr 2018

Session Times:
  • 1st Session: Thursday 19th April 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • 2nd Session: Thursday 26th April 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • 3rd Session: Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 9.00 am – 3.00 pm
  • 4th Session: Thursday, 10th May 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • 5th Session: Thursday 17th May 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • 6th Session: Thursday 24th May 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • 7th Session: Thursday 31st May 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • Assignment Submission , TBC, 4.00 pm

Study dates and times are subject to change.

Further Information

For details of how to apply, please visit

If you have any other queries about studying with us, please see the FAQs

Please note this module is NOT running in September 2016

For further module information, please contact the Module Coordinator, Nigel Kelleher on 01695 657 881 or email


This is a stand along module that is not linked to any specific programme of further study. However, Edge Hill University is currently developing a post graduate qualification route (PG certificate and PG diploma) that will incorporate this module.

Ever struggled to write a critical essay?
Ever wondered what critical thinking actually is and how you can apply it in your academic work and practice?

This bestselling guide takes you through every stage of becoming a critical thinker, from approaching your subject to writing your essays or dissertation in health and social care. Each chapter tackles a different aspect of critical thinking and shows you how it's done using examples and simple language.

Beginning with an overview of the importance of critical thinking, the book goes on to cover:

  • How to think critically about different types of information as potential evidence, including books, journals, articles, websites, and, new to this edition, social media
  • How to demonstrate critical thinking in written work and presentations
  • How to adopt critical thinking in practice
Updated with more references to online resources and critical appraisal tools, this fully revised second edition includes:
  • The key tool 'Six questions for critical thinking' which will assist you in developing your skills for academic work and practice - updated for this edition in response to student evaluation
  • An expanded worked example of critical analysis
  • New exploration of the connection between theory and practice
This book is an essential purchase for students and qualified healthcare staff alike and was highly commended in the BMA Medical Book Awards 2012.

"This is an amazing book that I recommend to all levels of students as there is something in it for all. It is written in an easy to understand and friendly style that is accessible to anyone has an interest in critical thinking whether they are studying or not. It puts a different perspective on one’s thinking and has even turned it on its head for some students. I love this book and the sound of the penny dropping for my learners!"
Liz Rockingham, Adult Field Lead / Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey, UK

"In my estimation this is the definitive beginner‘s guide to critical thinking and writing in health and social care. After reading this book any student should understand why and how critical thinking underpins professional practice and the highest endeavours in academic work and research. Within the book are three invaluable checklists: 1) 'Six questions for critical thinking',2) 'Critical thinking skills in your written work' and 3) 'Critical thinking, or relying on routine'. A wonderful book for both Undergraduate and Masters’ students and a must for hard-pressed academics who wish to encourage and endorse the need for critical thinking at all levels in all of their students".
Dr Ruth Davies, Associate Professor Child and Family Health, Swansea University, UK

"I did not intend to read this book cover to cover but it was such a pleasure I did. The book by Aveyard, Sharp and Woolliams achieves exactly what it sets out to do and is a comprehensive and highly readable guide. In this little gem the mysteries of critical thinking and writing are unpacked. Useful tools, resources, activities and worked examples are included and the reader is guided to develop their own skills. From the initial challenge to explore their personal values, beliefs and assumptions, through to how to adopt critical thinking in practice, the reader is left in no doubt as to the valuable contribution this book will make to developing their skills of critical thinking and writing for professional practice."
Ailsa Espie, Senior Lecturer, Division of Nursing, Queen Margaret University, UK

"Health and social care professionals navigate through extensive quantities of information in the course of their work. The ability to think clearly and critically is fundamental for appraising and implementing evidence and knowledge in practice. This book is an excellent place to start learning these vital skills and I recommend it to my students and to you."
Dr Martin Webber, Anniversary Reader in Social Work, University of York, UK

"I would recommend this book to any health care student, not just nurses, that require help in starting out how to write critically in essays, presentations, literature reviews and dissertations."
Jade Day, Student Nurse at Anglia Ruskin University, UK

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