Critical Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

Definitions:

  • Critical thinking is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances.
    - Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul

  • Critical thinking is about how you approach problems, questions, issues. - P. Facione

  • The ability to address problems using factual information to formulate related, new information. - LWIT Global Outcomes

Core Steps of the Critical Thinking Process:

  • Identify the Problem

  • Gather Information

  • Assess and Analyze

  • Develop Solution/Hypothesis

  • Evaluate

  • Draw Conclusions and Consequences

Throughout the critical thinking process, use probing questions that help to check your reasoning and clarify your thinking. A helpful list of questions based on intellectual standards can be found at the Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Strategies to Improve your Critical Thinking:

  • Clarify your thinking: Explain your understanding to someone else. Elaborate on what you mean. Give specific examples.

  • Stick to the point: Stay focused on what is relevant.

  • Question questions: Are you a questioner? Or someone who simply accepts others' definitions?

  • Be reasonable and open-minded: Recognize your own biases and assumptions. Be willing to listen to other opinions and change your mind.