What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is a term used in various ways. In general, critical thinking may refer to any form of reasoning in which the thinker takes a relatively reflective and skeptical view of some matter. The subject for this type of inquiry might be an idea, a theory, an event, a phenomenon or anything about which someone seeks understanding.
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from or generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication as a guide to belief and action.
In its exemplary form it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance and sound evidence.
In its most conspicuous application the critical thinker exhibits the fair-mindedness of a person who aspires to be reasonable in drawing conclusions from premises he or she does not necessarily endorse. In any number of realms such as politics, business and education, people with this admirable but demanding attribute may often be found.
Can we improve our critical thinking?
Yes, you can be a professional thinker. You can train yourself to think better and more productively. Critical thinking is the basis of knowledge and successful living. So what are you waiting for?
Here are 10 tips to improve your critical thinking skills:
1 . Collect Information Gather all the information that pertains to the topic or issue at hand. The more information you have, the better your understanding of the topic and issue will be.
2 . Evaluate Information Whenever you collect information, ask yourself if this new information is relevant to the issue or problem at hand. If it is not relevant, put it aside; if it is relevant, include it in your “information pool.”
3 . Distance Yourself from the Information Sometimes, distancing yourself from your information is as important as collecting it. In order to prevent being influenced by your own personal interests and biases, you need to step back and make sure that the information you have is relevant to your issue or problem.
4 . Ask Questions You can’t think critically unless you question what you have just collected or read. Here are a few critical thinking questions that will improve your ability to think critically:
- What information does this source provide?
- Do I need all the information in this source?
- How does this source support its position, and how is it similar to other sources?
5 . Look for Evidence The more evidence you have, the more credible your thinking will be. Always look for evidence that proves or supports an idea, theory, explanation, prediction, argument, or viewpoint.
6 . Rely on Evidence The more credible the evidence you use to support an argument is, the better it will hold up under scrutiny. You should rely on sources that are relevant and reliable to support your thinking.
7 . Look for Counter-Evidence Whenever you find evidence that supports an argument, look for counter-evidence that disputes it or weakens its credibility. When you’ve gathered enough evidence and counter-evidence, make a judgment about the argument’s strength and validity. Don’t rely solely on what you personally believe; let the evidence determine your judgment.
8 . Let Go of Assumptions If you want to think critically, then you can’t assume anything. You should base all your thoughts on evidence that proves or strongly supports an argument, not personal experience or assumptions.
9 . Look for Generalizations Whenever you read an argument, ask yourself if it is supported by generalizations. More often than not, an argument that is supported by many specific examples or pieces of evidence is more credible than an argument that only has one or two examples.
10 . Let Go of Biases One of the most important things to do if you want to think critically is let go of your biases and assumptions. Personal experience and emotions play a big role in critical thinking, but they shouldn’t influence how you analyze and think about an issue or problem.
How critical thinking helps in real life?
Critical thinking is important for success in your professional and personal endeavors. It enables you to not only communicate well with others, but also to manage yourself—your time, money, goals, and energy.
Critical thinking is a way of thinking that demands analysis, interpretation, and judgment. It requires you to make decisions within complex contexts and weigh multiple factors
What is critical analysis?
Critical analysis can include evaluation, explication, synthesis, interpretation and explanation. In its exemplary form it may lead to a profound insight or understanding. The subject for this type of inquiry might be a work of art, literature, historical event, scientific discovery or anything about which someone wishes to gain deep understanding.
Explication: breaking down and analyzing components in order to explain the nature and meaning of something. It often focuses on one building block at a time with an eye toward creating an integrated picture of the item in question.
Synthesis: the process of constructing a complex element from several simpler ones.
Interpretation: drawing conclusions about the potential meaning of something within its context. It often focuses on providing an explanation for why that thing is or was significant in that context.
Explanation: rendering the meaning of something in clear, precise terms. It often focuses on answering the question of what caused or led to that thing being significant in that context.
Some of the skills developed through critical thinking include:
1 . Clear thinking
2 . Problem solving abilities
3 . Effective decision-making skills
4 . Increased personal responsibility
5. Adaptability to different situations and new information
6. Professional development and growth
7. Response-ability: The ability to take control of your life in a way that you define for yourself
8 . Lifelong learner, able to continue learning no matter what career path you choose
9 . Higher self esteem
10 . Better communication skills with others in your life like friends, family, coworkers
There’s no doubt that critical thinking is hard work, but the benefits it provides are well worth the effort. Becoming a critical thinker is not only key to your success in life, but it will also make you feel more fulfilled and satisfied with the daily activities you engage in. While this essay has provided you with many of the most important aspects of critical thinking, it’s my hope that it inspires you to learn more through further reading.