Critical Writing/Critical Thinking


Target Audience:

Individuals who are competent in basic writing skills but interested in strengthening their ability to communicate through their government writing and technical staff who want to construct more compelling, logical, and persuasive arguments and whose job it is to write or review a variety of regulatory program documents, including findings, decision documents, technical reports, recommendations, comment letters, informational documents, and planning documents.

Summary and Objectives:

This intensive, hands-on writing course is designed to achieve excellence in writing through clarity in thinking. Critical thinking involves evaluating information to reach a well-justified decision or recommendation, and critical writing is the clear, unambiguous communication of the information. The goal of this course is to develop participants' skills as writers and editors/reviewers in order to make U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy and science writing clear, well-organized, persuasive, and logical.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Engage in the various stages of the writing process (invention, arrangement, selection, writing, editing, and revision) when composing documents.
  • Consider the essential elements of content, organization, tone, and clarity when writing.
  • Construct sound, logical, and compelling arguments.
  • Develop, organize, and link ideas, resulting in clear, persuasive, and logical writing.
  • Use critical thinking skills to differentiate between fact and opinion, identify author bias, develop inferential skills, and recognize logical fallacies and faulty reasoning.
  • Apply simple techniques (such as the IRAC format) that make documents analytical, reasoned, and understandable.
  • Write well-organized sentences, paragraphs, and documents using proper conventions with reference to legal and biological standards.
  • Apply proper grammar, sentence structure structure
    Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    Learn more about structure
    , and plain language rules. 
  • Diagnose problems in writing samples and determine improvements that could strengthen the piece.
  • Edit and revise their writing so that it is concise, contains relevant information, and is free of errors.

This course does not cover how to write journal articles for publication in scientific journals; for this type of training, please see Scientific Writing for Publication: Course and Clinic (CSP3182).

Competency Addressed:

Critical Thinking - Awareness, Writing - Intermediate, Written Communication - Intermediate, Communicating Science - Intermediate 

Course Short Name
Course Type
Course Category
Training Tuition Cost
36 hours
Training Credit Hours
Semester Hours

Questions and Registration

Upcoming Sessions of this Course

Session date and time
Location Classroom
Shepherdstown, WV

Session Contact

Session date and time
Location Classroom
Shepherdstown, WV

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