If you and I were discussing whether or not there should be a death penalty in the US, there would be a beginning, middle and end to our conversation.
As with a conversation, your essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to your intent or argument.
[It's a PDF and loads slowly.] Developing the ability to think critically can be difficult because it is easier to make hasty judgments based on opinions and biases than it is to evaluate facts and arguments.
For example, your friends might think that the death penalty is just, and you might also think so just because your friends do.
Without hearing any arguments to the contrary, your viewpoint, based solely on the opinions of others, would be weak.
The approaches to life and living which characterize critical thinking include the following.
o Selling an idea is like selling cars, you say whatever works.
Read Peter Facione's Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts, especially pages 4-6.