I want to talk about how I gradually learned to think critically in science. ,I must say that this is not something to comprehend and do immediately, which I was searching all over the Internet, trying to understand when I was a Freshman. Nevertheless, I will give some bullet points from my experiences to give you a mindset about how you can improve your scientific thinking and enable your research.
- Read as much as you can. Even you barely understand the title and search all the keywords one by one.
Science is about practicing. You practice learning the concepts. You practice to find questions, practice to come up with answers, practice the experiments to test them all the time. So, reading is one of them that will be your for practice to your extraocular muscles throughout your scientific career. (If you do not know the meaning of extraocular muscle, you can start practicing your new small habit.)
When I was an innocent freshman, Science Faculty was my shelter where I was drifting around, standing in front of labs and trying to read all these posters full of figure and data which make no sense at that time. But each time I was completing the tour, I would understand one more piece and get the main idea! I am very comfortable say right now that I am educated so well that not just understand a scientific paper, but also be able to write one.
Here the small things that helped me to develop this habit.
- Use Facebook wisely. I liked so many (like so much) pages that appear in my feed pages of world scientific news, Universities, Molecular Biology Associations, scholarships etc. You may consider making them ‘See First’, and limit the stuff that takes your valuable time by making them ‘Not Following’. You can find what I follow from my FB page.
- Use Pocket application. A fabulous app that allows you to save the articles that you want to read later and making them more readable. More effective than bookmarks. Also can be synchronized with your mobile, enable you to read about latest research in stem cells field at subway. How cool is that!
- Other some useful channels: Quora to ask and read for all your questions in mind. Big Think, TED to broaden your horizons, your Library website to search the book you were looking for. Save your money to buy a coffee to your friend.
- iBiology videos, Nature, Science, for Biology geeks.
- Reading textbooks, rather than skimming lecture slides. Slides are just bullet points and only to give the main idea. To improve your scientific writing, it is crucial to get exposed to scientific writing as much as possible.
2.Connect the stuff you have read.
Use mind maps, draw concepts, imagine visuals, try to think creative. Here it comes. But how, how I am going to be sure that I am connecting correctly? Short answer: You are going to search for that connection too. And when the new connection or piece of knowledge comes, you will place it right. It is like knitting. Then you get your wooly jumper. Like your new connections formed in your connectome, neural networks. Even this point is like stating the obvious, I believe that knowing what you should do is useful. Practice this as well.
3.Ask questions. Catch the core of arguments. Discuss.
4.Be a doer.
5.Apply to your life.