What is Critical Thinking?

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What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is an intellectual discipline that involves actively seeking out alternative points of view, evaluating them critically, and then making decisions based on the best available evidence.

KEY Takeaways

  • Critical thinking is the ability to observe, question, and reason.
  • It involves using all available resource to solve a problem (instead of just relying on gut feeling).
  • Critical thinking is the ability to observe, question, experiment, imagine, infer, argue, compare, summarize, apply knowledge, and be open minded.

It involves using all available resources to solve a problem (as against a gut-feeling solution). It is the ability to think critically about problems and their solutions.

It requires a willingness to question one’s own beliefs and assumptions as well as those of others.

There are three main aspects of critical thinking:

1) The ability to think logically about issues;

2) The ability to evaluate information critically by assessing its validity, reliability, relevance, accuracy, completeness, consistency, transparency, timeliness, etc.;

3) The ability to make sound judgments in complex situations.

Among the most important skills employers look for when hiring new employees, critical thinking ability is one of the top skills they seek.

It involves:

  • Observational abilities
  • Questioning abilities
  • Imaginative abilities
  • Inferential abilities
  • Experimenting abilities
  • Argument analysis abilities

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Developing Critical Thinking Skill

The following list provides some strategies for developing your critical thinking skills.

Read widely – Read books, articles, journals, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc., and keep up with current events. This will help you to develop your observation and reasoning skills.

Ask questions – Ask questions whenever possible. When someone gives you advice or tells you something, ask why they think it is true. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.

Think about things from different perspectives – Try to see things through other people’s eyes. What would be the reasons behind someone’s actions? How might this person feel if you were to do what she wanted?

Use analogies – Use comparisons to explain ideas.

Analyze arguments – Analyze how an argument was constructed. Is there any evidence supporting the claim made? Are there any flaws in the logic used?

Compare and contrast – Compare two similar situations, then contrast them.

Summarize – Summarize what you have learned.

Apply knowledge – Apply what you know to real-life situations.

Be open-minded – Be willing to change your mind if new facts come to light.

Critically analyze – Critically analyze what you read, watch, hear, or experience.

 


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