Instructions: Textbook: Chapter 1, 2, 3 ( Think Critically by Peter...

Instructions: Textbook: Chapter 1, 2, 3 ( Think Critically by Peter Facione, Carol Ann Gittens)

For this journal assignment,  briefly  answer each of the following prompts:

  • After reading the required resources for this week and participating in the discussion, how do you define critical thinking? You will want to carry this definition with you, so keep it brief - perhaps 4 to 6 lines. You will find many definitions online - don't be tempted to just quickly copy one; try to form your own so that it is meaningful to you.
  • Considering just what you read in Chapter 2.3 "Looking Ahead" why do you think the authors see Chapters 12, 13, and 14 as the "heart of the matter"?
  • What do you think they mean by that?
  • What two concepts do the authors say these chapters emphasize?
  • How do you define these concepts?
  • Why do you think the authors find these concepts important to critical thinking?
  • What do you see as your greatest challenge for this session in general? For this class in particular?
  • How do you think you can use the concepts in these first three chapters to help you meet these challenges as well as challenges in your personal life as a member of your family and your community?

If you include references to outside sources (beyond the textbook), make sure you cite them properly. 

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 1 ½ -2 pages (not including prompts, title page or references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • References page (as needed)


Answer & Explanation

Analysis and Reflection

The process of actively analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information in order to arrive at a conclusion that is supported by reason is known as critical thinking. It entails putting assumptions to the test, collecting information that is pertinent to the topic at hand, analyzing different points of view, and contemplating the implications of the findings. Critical thinking is a skill that is essential for both academic and professional success because it enables a person to make decisions based on evidence and come up with original solutions to difficult problems.

At the Core of the Issue

The authors consider Chapters 12, 13, and 14 to be "the meat and potatoes" of the book because they focus on two fundamental ideas throughout those chapters: the significance of logical reasoning, as well as the requirement for intellectual modesty. In order to arrive at a conclusion that is defensible and reasonable, one must engage in the practice of sound reasoning, which entails conducting a thorough investigation into the evidence and arguments that support and oppose a specific claim. Intellectual humility entails the realization that one's own ideas are not necessarily accurate and that one should always be open to new evidence and alternative points of view. Having this kind of understanding is essential to developing critical thinking skills. These two ideas are essential to critical thinking because they help to ensure that decisions and conclusions are founded on valid evidence and sound reasoning. In other words, critical thinking helps to ensure that decisions and conclusions are well-grounded.

Challenges and New Perspectives

My ability to develop my critical thinking skills and apply them to various aspects of my life will be the most difficult challenge I face during this session. The challenge for me in this class in particular is to critically examine different ideas and pieces of evidence and come to sound conclusions. By learning to consider the implications of my findings and recognizing how important it is to be open to different points of view, I will be better equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead of me if I apply the ideas presented in the first three chapters of this book. I am able to guarantee that my judgments and findings are founded on robust reasoning and intellectual modesty if I persistently challenge my presuppositions and seek out information that is pertinent to the topic at hand. Because of this, I'll be able to make decisions based on accurate information and come up with original solutions to difficult problems.

It is essential to hone one's critical thinking skills and demonstrate their utility in a variety of contexts throughout one's life in order to successfully meet the challenges presented in this session and in this class. Critical thinking is defined as the process of actively analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information in order to come to a conclusion that is supported by reasoning, as described in the required resources for this week. It entails putting assumptions to the test, collecting information that is pertinent to the topic at hand, analyzing different points of view, and contemplating the implications of the findings. The authors of the textbook, Peter Facione and Carol Ann Gittens, place a strong emphasis on two fundamental ideas throughout Chapters 12, 13, and 14. These ideas are the necessity of intellectual humility and the significance of using sound reasoning.

In order to arrive at a conclusion that is defensible and reasonable, one must engage in the practice of sound reasoning, which entails conducting a thorough investigation into the evidence and arguments that support and oppose a specific claim. When engaging in valid reasoning, one must be conscious of logical fallacies and cognitive biases, both of which can result in incorrect inferences being drawn from the investigation. It is essential to be able to recognize logical fallacies and biases in order to keep one's reasoning valid; this is why it is so important to develop this skill. Intellectual humility entails the realization that one's own ideas are not necessarily accurate and that one should always be open to new evidence and alternative points of view. Having this kind of understanding is essential to developing critical thinking skills. This enables one to think about a variety of perspectives and to make decisions based on that consideration.

It is imperative that one cultivate their critical thinking skills and make use of them in a variety of facets of life in order to effectively meet the challenges and gain the insights that are presented in this session and in this class. One method for accomplishing this goal is to engage in sound reasoning, which entails amassing pertinent information and carefully analyzing the evidence as well as the arguments in support of and in opposition to a specific claim. This enables one to reach valid conclusions and make decisions based on that information. In order to cultivate intellectual humility and ensure one's success in this endeavor, one must remain open to new evidence and different points of view. This enables one to think about a variety of perspectives and to arrive at decisions based on sound reasoning.

In addition, it is essential to be conscious of logical fallacies and cognitive biases, both of which have the potential to cause one to draw incorrect conclusions. It is essential to be able to recognize these fallacies and biases in order to ensure that one's reasoning remains sound. [Citation needed] Last but not least, it is essential to keep in mind that critical thinking is an ongoing process, and that it is essential to continually challenge assumptions, gather pertinent information, and take into consideration alternative points of view. When one does this, they are able to make decisions based on accurate information and develop original solutions to difficult problems.

In conclusion, in order to effectively meet the challenges and gain the insights that will be presented during this session and throughout this class, it is essential to develop one's critical thinking skills. In order to accomplish this goal, one must develop the skill of sound reasoning, cultivate intellectual humility, and be aware of logical fallacies and cognitive biases. When one does this, they are able to make decisions based on accurate information and develop original solutions to difficult problems.

Facione, P. A., & Gittens, C. A. (2020). Think about it rationally (2nd ed.). Pearson.

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Defining Critical Thinking

  • A Brief History of the Idea of Critical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking: Basic Questions & Answers
  • Our Conception of Critical Thinking
  • Sumner’s Definition of Critical Thinking
  • Research in Critical Thinking
  • Critical Societies: Thoughts from the Past

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  • 14.2 DNA Structure and Sequencing
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 The Science of Biology
  • 1.2 Themes and Concepts of Biology
  • Chapter Summary
  • Visual Connection Questions
  • Review Questions
  • Critical Thinking Questions
  • 2.1 Atoms, Isotopes, Ions, and Molecules: The Building Blocks
  • 3.1 Synthesis of Biological Macromolecules
  • 3.2 Carbohydrates
  • 3.4 Proteins
  • 3.5 Nucleic Acids
  • 4.1 Studying Cells
  • 4.2 Prokaryotic Cells
  • 4.3 Eukaryotic Cells
  • 4.4 The Endomembrane System and Proteins
  • 4.5 The Cytoskeleton
  • 4.6 Connections between Cells and Cellular Activities
  • 5.1 Components and Structure
  • 5.2 Passive Transport
  • 5.3 Active Transport
  • 5.4 Bulk Transport
  • 6.1 Energy and Metabolism
  • 6.2 Potential, Kinetic, Free, and Activation Energy
  • 6.3 The Laws of Thermodynamics
  • 6.4 ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate
  • 6.5 Enzymes
  • 7.1 Energy in Living Systems
  • 7.2 Glycolysis
  • 7.3 Oxidation of Pyruvate and the Citric Acid Cycle
  • 7.4 Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • 7.5 Metabolism without Oxygen
  • 7.6 Connections of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Lipid Metabolic Pathways
  • 7.7 Regulation of Cellular Respiration
  • 8.1 Overview of Photosynthesis
  • 8.2 The Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis
  • 8.3 Using Light Energy to Make Organic Molecules
  • 9.1 Signaling Molecules and Cellular Receptors
  • 9.2 Propagation of the Signal
  • 9.3 Response to the Signal
  • 9.4 Signaling in Single-Celled Organisms
  • 10.1 Cell Division
  • 10.2 The Cell Cycle
  • 10.3 Control of the Cell Cycle
  • 10.4 Cancer and the Cell Cycle
  • 10.5 Prokaryotic Cell Division
  • 11.1 The Process of Meiosis
  • 11.2 Sexual Reproduction
  • 12.1 Mendel’s Experiments and the Laws of Probability
  • 12.2 Characteristics and Traits
  • 12.3 Laws of Inheritance
  • 13.1 Chromosomal Theory and Genetic Linkage
  • 13.2 Chromosomal Basis of Inherited Disorders
  • 14.1 Historical Basis of Modern Understanding
  • 14.3 Basics of DNA Replication
  • 14.4 DNA Replication in Prokaryotes
  • 14.5 DNA Replication in Eukaryotes
  • 14.6 DNA Repair
  • 15.1 The Genetic Code
  • 15.2 Prokaryotic Transcription
  • 15.3 Eukaryotic Transcription
  • 15.4 RNA Processing in Eukaryotes
  • 15.5 Ribosomes and Protein Synthesis
  • 16.1 Regulation of Gene Expression
  • 16.2 Prokaryotic Gene Regulation
  • 16.3 Eukaryotic Epigenetic Gene Regulation
  • 16.4 Eukaryotic Transcription Gene Regulation
  • 16.5 Eukaryotic Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation
  • 16.6 Eukaryotic Translational and Post-translational Gene Regulation
  • 16.7 Cancer and Gene Regulation
  • 17.1 Biotechnology
  • 17.2 Mapping Genomes
  • 17.3 Whole-Genome Sequencing
  • 17.4 Applying Genomics
  • 17.5 Genomics and Proteomics
  • 18.1 Understanding Evolution
  • 18.2 Formation of New Species
  • 18.3 Reconnection and Speciation Rates
  • 19.1 Population Evolution
  • 19.2 Population Genetics
  • 19.3 Adaptive Evolution
  • 20.1 Organizing Life on Earth
  • 20.2 Determining Evolutionary Relationships
  • 20.3 Perspectives on the Phylogenetic Tree
  • 21.1 Viral Evolution, Morphology, and Classification
  • 21.2 Virus Infections and Hosts
  • 21.3 Prevention and Treatment of Viral Infections
  • 21.4 Other Acellular Entities: Prions and Viroids
  • 22.1 Prokaryotic Diversity
  • 22.2 Structure of Prokaryotes: Bacteria and Archaea
  • 22.3 Prokaryotic Metabolism
  • 22.4 Bacterial Diseases in Humans
  • 22.5 Beneficial Prokaryotes
  • 23.1 Eukaryotic Origins
  • 23.2 Characteristics of Protists
  • 23.3 Groups of Protists
  • 23.4 Ecology of Protists
  • 24.1 Characteristics of Fungi
  • 24.2 Classifications of Fungi
  • 24.3 Ecology of Fungi
  • 24.4 Fungal Parasites and Pathogens
  • 24.5 Importance of Fungi in Human Life
  • 25.1 Early Plant Life
  • 25.2 Green Algae: Precursors of Land Plants
  • 25.3 Bryophytes
  • 25.4 Seedless Vascular Plants
  • 26.1 Evolution of Seed Plants
  • 26.2 Gymnosperms
  • 26.3 Angiosperms
  • 26.4 The Role of Seed Plants
  • 27.1 Features of the Animal Kingdom
  • 27.2 Features Used to Classify Animals
  • 27.3 Animal Phylogeny
  • 27.4 The Evolutionary History of the Animal Kingdom
  • 28.1 Phylum Porifera
  • 28.2 Phylum Cnidaria
  • 28.3 Superphylum Lophotrochozoa: Flatworms, Rotifers, and Nemerteans
  • 28.4 Superphylum Lophotrochozoa: Molluscs and Annelids
  • 28.5 Superphylum Ecdysozoa: Nematodes and Tardigrades
  • 28.6 Superphylum Ecdysozoa: Arthropods
  • 28.7 Superphylum Deuterostomia
  • 29.1 Chordates
  • 29.2 Fishes
  • 29.3 Amphibians
  • 29.4 Reptiles
  • 29.6 Mammals
  • 29.7 The Evolution of Primates
  • 30.1 The Plant Body
  • 30.4 Leaves
  • 30.5 Transport of Water and Solutes in Plants
  • 30.6 Plant Sensory Systems and Responses
  • 31.1 Nutritional Requirements of Plants
  • 31.2 The Soil
  • 31.3 Nutritional Adaptations of Plants
  • 32.1 Reproductive Development and Structure
  • 32.2 Pollination and Fertilization
  • 32.3 Asexual Reproduction
  • 33.1 Animal Form and Function
  • 33.2 Animal Primary Tissues
  • 33.3 Homeostasis
  • 34.1 Digestive Systems
  • 34.2 Nutrition and Energy Production
  • 34.3 Digestive System Processes
  • 34.4 Digestive System Regulation
  • 35.1 Neurons and Glial Cells
  • 35.2 How Neurons Communicate
  • 35.3 The Central Nervous System
  • 35.4 The Peripheral Nervous System
  • 35.5 Nervous System Disorders
  • 36.1 Sensory Processes
  • 36.2 Somatosensation
  • 36.3 Taste and Smell
  • 36.4 Hearing and Vestibular Sensation
  • 36.5 Vision
  • 37.1 Types of Hormones
  • 37.2 How Hormones Work
  • 37.3 Regulation of Body Processes
  • 37.4 Regulation of Hormone Production
  • 37.5 Endocrine Glands
  • 38.1 Types of Skeletal Systems
  • 38.3 Joints and Skeletal Movement
  • 38.4 Muscle Contraction and Locomotion
  • 39.1 Systems of Gas Exchange
  • 39.2 Gas Exchange across Respiratory Surfaces
  • 39.3 Breathing
  • 39.4 Transport of Gases in Human Bodily Fluids
  • 40.1 Overview of the Circulatory System
  • 40.2 Components of the Blood
  • 40.3 Mammalian Heart and Blood Vessels
  • 40.4 Blood Flow and Blood Pressure Regulation
  • 41.1 Osmoregulation and Osmotic Balance
  • 41.2 The Kidneys and Osmoregulatory Organs
  • 41.3 Excretion Systems
  • 41.4 Nitrogenous Wastes
  • 41.5 Hormonal Control of Osmoregulatory Functions
  • 42.1 Innate Immune Response
  • 42.2 Adaptive Immune Response
  • 42.3 Antibodies
  • 42.4 Disruptions in the Immune System
  • 43.1 Reproduction Methods
  • 43.2 Fertilization
  • 43.3 Human Reproductive Anatomy and Gametogenesis
  • 43.4 Hormonal Control of Human Reproduction
  • 43.5 Human Pregnancy and Birth
  • 43.6 Fertilization and Early Embryonic Development
  • 43.7 Organogenesis and Vertebrate Formation
  • 44.1 The Scope of Ecology
  • 44.2 Biogeography
  • 44.3 Terrestrial Biomes
  • 44.4 Aquatic Biomes
  • 44.5 Climate and the Effects of Global Climate Change
  • 45.1 Population Demography
  • 45.2 Life Histories and Natural Selection
  • 45.3 Environmental Limits to Population Growth
  • 45.4 Population Dynamics and Regulation
  • 45.5 Human Population Growth
  • 45.6 Community Ecology
  • 45.7 Behavioral Biology: Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Behavior
  • 46.1 Ecology of Ecosystems
  • 46.2 Energy Flow through Ecosystems
  • 46.3 Biogeochemical Cycles
  • 47.1 The Biodiversity Crisis
  • 47.2 The Importance of Biodiversity to Human Life
  • 47.3 Threats to Biodiversity
  • 47.4 Preserving Biodiversity
  • A | The Periodic Table of Elements
  • B | Geological Time
  • C | Measurements and the Metric System

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the structure of DNA
  • Explain the Sanger method of DNA sequencing
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic DNA

The building blocks of DNA are nucleotides. The important components of the nucleotide are a nitrogenous (nitrogen-bearing) base, a 5-carbon sugar (pentose), and a phosphate group ( Figure 14.5 ). The nucleotide is named depending on the nitrogenous base. The nitrogenous base can be a purine such as adenine (A) and guanine (G), or a pyrimidine such as cytosine (C) and thymine (T).

Visual Connection

The images above illustrate the five bases of DNA and RNA. Examine the images and explain why these are called “nitrogenous bases.” How are the purines different from the pyrimidines? How is one purine or pyrimidine different from another, e.g., adenine from guanine? How is a nucleoside different from a nucleotide?

The purines have a double ring structure with a six-membered ring fused to a five-membered ring. Pyrimidines are smaller in size; they have a single six-membered ring structure.

The sugar is deoxyribose in DNA and ribose in RNA. The carbon atoms of the five-carbon sugar are numbered 1', 2', 3', 4', and 5' (1' is read as “one prime”). The phosphate, which makes DNA and RNA acidic, is connected to the 5' carbon of the sugar by the formation of an ester linkage between phosphoric acid and the 5'-OH group (an ester is an acid + an alcohol). In DNA nucleotides, the 3' carbon of the sugar deoxyribose is attached to a hydroxyl (OH) group. In RNA nucleotides, the 2' carbon of the sugar ribose also contains a hydroxyl group. The base is attached to the 1'carbon of the sugar.

The nucleotides combine with each other to produce phosphodiester bonds. The phosphate residue attached to the 5' carbon of the sugar of one nucleotide forms a second ester linkage with the hydroxyl group of the 3' carbon of the sugar of the next nucleotide, thereby forming a 5'-3' phosphodiester bond. In a polynucleotide, one end of the chain has a free 5' phosphate, and the other end has a free 3'-OH. These are called the 5' and 3' ends of the chain.

In the 1950s, Francis Crick and James Watson worked together to determine the structure of DNA at the University of Cambridge, England. Other scientists like Linus Pauling and Maurice Wilkins were also actively exploring this field. Pauling previously had discovered the secondary structure of proteins using X-ray crystallography. In Wilkins’ lab, researcher Rosalind Franklin was using X-ray diffraction methods to understand the structure of DNA. Watson and Crick were able to piece together the puzzle of the DNA molecule on the basis of Franklin's data because Crick had also studied X-ray diffraction ( Figure 14.6 ). In 1962, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Unfortunately, by then Franklin had died, and Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously.

Watson and Crick proposed that DNA is made up of two strands that are twisted around each other to form a right-handed helix. Base pairing takes place between a purine and pyrimidine on opposite strands, so that A pairs with T, and G pairs with C (suggested by Chargaff's Rules). Thus, adenine and thymine are complementary base pairs, and cytosine and guanine are also complementary base pairs. The base pairs are stabilized by hydrogen bonds: adenine and thymine form two hydrogen bonds and cytosine and guanine form three hydrogen bonds. The two strands are anti-parallel in nature; that is, the 3' end of one strand faces the 5' end of the other strand. The sugar and phosphate of the nucleotides form the backbone of the structure, whereas the nitrogenous bases are stacked inside, like the rungs of a ladder. Each base pair is separated from the next base pair by a distance of 0.34 nm, and each turn of the helix measures 3.4 nm. Therefore, 10 base pairs are present per turn of the helix. The diameter of the DNA double-helix is 2 nm, and it is uniform throughout. Only the pairing between a purine and pyrimidine and the antiparallel orientation of the two DNA strands can explain the uniform diameter. The twisting of the two strands around each other results in the formation of uniformly spaced major and minor grooves ( Figure 14.7 ).

DNA Sequencing Techniques

Until the 1990s, the sequencing of DNA (reading the sequence of DNA) was a relatively expensive and long process. Using radiolabeled nucleotides also compounded the problem through safety concerns. With currently available technology and automated machines, the process is cheaper, safer, and can be completed in a matter of hours. Fred Sanger developed the sequencing method used for the human genome sequencing project, which is widely used today ( Figure 14.8 ).

Link to Learning

Visit this site to watch a video explaining the DNA sequence-reading technique that resulted from Sanger’s work.

The sequencing method is known as the dideoxy chain termination method. The method is based on the use of chain terminators, the dideoxynucleotides (ddNTPs). The ddNTPSs differ from the deoxynucleotides by the lack of a free 3' OH group on the five-carbon sugar. If a ddNTP is added to a growing DNA strand, the chain cannot be extended any further because the free 3' OH group needed to add another nucleotide is not available. By using a predetermined ratio of deoxynucleotides to dideoxynucleotides, it is possible to generate DNA fragments of different sizes.

The DNA sample to be sequenced is denatured (separated into two strands by heating it to high temperatures). The DNA is divided into four tubes in which a primer, DNA polymerase, and all four nucleoside triphosphates (A, T, G, and C) are added. In addition, limited quantities of one of the four dideoxynucleoside triphosphates (ddCTP, ddATP, ddGTP, and ddTTP) are added to each tube respectively. The tubes are labeled as A, T, G, and C according to the ddNTP added. For detection purposes, each of the four dideoxynucleotides carries a different fluorescent label. Chain elongation continues until a fluorescent dideoxy nucleotide is incorporated, after which no further elongation takes place. After the reaction is over, electrophoresis is performed. Even a difference in length of a single base can be detected. The sequence is read from a laser scanner that detects the fluorescent marker of each fragment. For his work on DNA sequencing, Sanger received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980.

Sanger’s genome sequencing has led to a race to sequence human genomes at rapid speed and low cost. Learn more by viewing the animation here .

Gel electrophoresis is a technique used to separate DNA fragments of different sizes. Usually the gel is made of a chemical called agarose (a polysaccharide polymer extracted from seaweed that is high in galactose residues). Agarose powder is added to a buffer and heated. After cooling, the gel solution is poured into a casting tray. Once the gel has solidified, the DNA is loaded on the gel and electric current is applied. The DNA has a net negative charge and moves from the negative electrode toward the positive electrode. The electric current is applied for sufficient time to let the DNA separate according to size; the smallest fragments will be farthest from the well (where the DNA was loaded), and the heavier molecular weight fragments will be closest to the well. Once the DNA is separated, the gel is stained with a DNA-specific dye for viewing it ( Figure 14.9 ).

Evolution Connection

Neanderthal genome: how are we related.

The first draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome was recently published by Richard E. Green et al. in 2010. 1 Neanderthals are the closest ancestors of present-day humans. They were known to have lived in Europe and Western Asia (and now, perhaps, in Northern Africa) before they disappeared from fossil records approximately 30,000 years ago. Green’s team studied almost 40,000-year-old fossil remains that were selected from sites across the world. Extremely sophisticated means of sample preparation and DNA sequencing were employed because of the fragile nature of the bones and heavy microbial contamination. In their study, the scientists were able to sequence some four billion base pairs. The Neanderthal sequence was compared with that of present-day humans from across the world. After comparing the sequences, the researchers found that the Neanderthal genome had 2 to 3 percent greater similarity to people living outside Africa than to people in Africa. While current theories have suggested that all present-day humans can be traced to a small ancestral population in Africa, the data from the Neanderthal genome suggest some interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans.

Green and his colleagues also discovered DNA segments among people in Europe and Asia that are more similar to Neanderthal sequences than to other contemporary human sequences. Another interesting observation was that Neanderthals are as closely related to people from Papua New Guinea as to those from China or France. This is surprising because Neanderthal fossil remains have been located only in Europe and West Asia. Most likely, genetic exchange took place between Neanderthals and modern humans as modern humans emerged out of Africa, before the divergence of Europeans, East Asians, and Papua New Guineans.

Several genes seem to have undergone changes from Neanderthals during the evolution of present-day humans. These genes are involved in cranial structure, metabolism, skin morphology, and cognitive development. One of the genes that is of particular interest is RUNX2 , which is different in modern day humans and Neanderthals. This gene is responsible for the prominent frontal bone, bell-shaped rib cage, and dental differences seen in Neanderthals. It is speculated that an evolutionary change in RUNX2 was important in the origin of modern-day humans, and this affected the cranium and the upper body.

Watch Svante Pääbo’s talk explaining the Neanderthal genome research at the 2011 annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference.

DNA Packaging in Cells

Prokaryotes are much simpler than eukaryotes in many of their features ( Figure 14.10 ). Most prokaryotes contain a single, circular chromosome that is found in an area of the cytoplasm called the nucleoid region .

In eukaryotic cells, DNA and RNA synthesis occur in a separate compartment from protein synthesis. In prokaryotic cells, both processes occur together. What advantages might there be to separating the processes? What advantages might there be to having them occur together?

The size of the genome in one of the most well-studied prokaryotes, E.coli, is 4.6 million base pairs (approximately 1.1 mm, if cut and stretched out). So how does this fit inside a small bacterial cell? The DNA is twisted by what is known as supercoiling. Supercoiling suggests that DNA is either “under-wound” (less than one turn of the helix per 10 base pairs) or “over-wound” (more than 1 turn per 10 base pairs) from its normal relaxed state. Some proteins are known to be involved in the supercoiling; other proteins and enzymes such as DNA gyrase help in maintaining the supercoiled structure.

Eukaryotes, whose chromosomes each consist of a linear DNA molecule, employ a different type of packing strategy to fit their DNA inside the nucleus ( Figure 14.11 ). At the most basic level, DNA is wrapped around proteins known as histones to form structures called nucleosomes. The histones are evolutionarily conserved proteins that are rich in basic amino acids and form an octamer composed of two molecules of each of four different histones. Their composition and properties are important to understanding gene expression, and were partially uncovered based on research by Marie M. Daly and Alfred E. Mirsky in the early 1950s. The DNA (remember, it is negatively charged because of the phosphate groups) is wrapped tightly around the histone core. This nucleosome is linked to the next one with the help of a linker DNA . This is also known as the “beads on a string” structure. With the help of a fifth histone, a string of nucleosomes is further compacted into a 30-nm fiber, which is the diameter of the structure. Metaphase chromosomes are even further condensed by association with scaffolding proteins. At the metaphase stage, the chromosomes are at their most compact, approximately 700 nm in width.

In interphase, eukaryotic chromosomes have two distinct regions that can be distinguished by staining. The tightly packaged region is known as heterochromatin, and the less dense region is known as euchromatin. Heterochromatin usually contains genes that are not expressed, and is found in the regions of the centromere and telomeres. The euchromatin usually contains genes that are transcribed, with DNA packaged around nucleosomes but not further compacted.

  • 1 Richard E. Green et al., “A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome,” Science 328 (2010): 710-22.

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  • Authors: Mary Ann Clark, Matthew Douglas, Jung Choi
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Biology 2e
  • Publication date: Mar 28, 2018
  • Location: Houston, Texas
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  • v.22(4); 2014 Aug

Critical Thinking: The Development of an Essential Skill for Nursing Students

Ioanna v. papathanasiou.

1 Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Thessaly, Greece

Christos F. Kleisiaris

2 Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece

Evangelos C. Fradelos

3 State Mental Hospital of Attica “Daphne”, Greece

Katerina Kakou

Lambrini kourkouta.

4 Nursing Department, Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece

Critical thinking is defined as the mental process of actively and skillfully perception, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of collected information through observation, experience and communication that leads to a decision for action. In nursing education there is frequent reference to critical thinking and to the significance that it has in daily clinical nursing practice. Nursing clinical instructors know that students face difficulties in making decisions related to clinical practice. The main critical thinking skills in which nursing students should be exercised during their studies are critical analysis, introductory and concluding justification, valid conclusion, distinguish of facts and opinions, evaluation the credibility of information sources, clarification of concepts and recognition of conditions. Specific behaviors are essentials for enhancing critical thinking. Nursing students in order to learn and apply critical thinking should develop independence of thought, fairness, perspicacity in personal and social level, humility, spiritual courage, integrity, perseverance, self-confidence, interest for research and curiosity. Critical thinking is an essential process for the safe, efficient and skillful nursing practice. The nursing education programs should adopt attitudes that promote critical thinking and mobilize the skills of critical reasoning.


Critical thinking is applied by nurses in the process of solving problems of patients and decision-making process with creativity to enhance the effect. It is an essential process for a safe, efficient and skillful nursing intervention. Critical thinking according to Scriven and Paul is the mental active process and subtle perception, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of information collected or derived from observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or the communication leading to conviction for action ( 1 ).

So, nurses must adopt positions that promote critical thinking and refine skills of critical reasoning in order a meaningful assessment of both the previous and the new information and decisions taken daily on hospitalization and use of limited resources, forces you to think and act in cases where there are neither clear answers nor specific procedures and where opposing forces transform decision making in a complex process ( 2 ).

Critical thinking applies to nurses as they have diverse multifaceted knowledge to handle the various situations encountered during their shifts still face constant changes in an environment with constant stress of changing conditions and make important decisions using critical thinking to collect and interpret information that are necessary for making a decision ( 3 ).

Critical thinking, combined with creativity, refine the result as nurses can find specific solutions to specific problems with creativity taking place where traditional interventions are not effective. Even with creativity, nurses generate new ideas quickly, get flexible and natural, create original solutions to problems, act independently and with confidence, even under pressure, and demonstrate originality ( 4 ).

The aim of the study is to present the basic skills of critical thinking, to highlight critical thinking as a essential skill for nursing education and a fundamental skill for decision making in nursing practice. Moreover to indicate the positive effect and relation that critical thinking has on professional outcomes.


Nurses in their efforts to implement critical thinking should develop some methods as well as cognitive skills required in analysis, problem solving and decision making ( 5 ). These skills include critical analysis, introductory and concluding justification, valid conclusion, distinguishing facts and opinions to assess the credibility of sources of information, clarification of concepts, and recognition conditions ( 6 , 7 ).

Critical analysis is applied to a set of questions that relate to the event or concept for the determination of important information and ideas and discarding the unnecessary ones. It is, thus, a set of criteria to rationalize an idea where one must know all the questions but to use the appropriate one in this case ( 8 ).

The Socratic Method, where the question and the answer are sought, is a technique in which one can investigate below the surface, recognize and examine the condition, look for the consequences, investigate the multiple data views and distinguish between what one knows and what he simply believes. This method should be implemented by nurses at the end of their shifts, when reviewing patient history and progress, planning the nursing plan or discussing the treatment of a patient with colleagues ( 9 ).

The Inference and Concluding justification are two other critical thinking skills, where the justification for inductive generalizations formed from a set of data and observations, which when considered together, specific pieces of information constitute a special interpretation ( 10 ). In contrast, the justification is deduced from the general to the specific. According to this, nurse starts from a conceptual framework–for example, the prioritization of needs by Maslow or a context–evident and gives descriptive interpretation of the patient’s condition with respect to this framework. So, the nurse who uses drawing needs categorizes information and defines the problem of the patient based on eradication, nutrition or need protection.

In critical thinking, the nurses still distinguish claims based on facts, conclusions, judgments and opinions. The assessment of the reliability of information is an important stage of critical thinking, where the nurse needs to confirm the accuracy of this information by checking other evidence and informants ( 10 ).

The concepts are ideas and opinions that represent objects in the real world and the importance of them. Each person has developed its own concepts, where they are nested by others, either based on personal experience or study or other activities. For a clear understanding of the situation of the patient, the nurse and the patient should be in agreement with the importance of concepts.

People also live under certain assumptions. Many believe that people generally have a generous nature, while others believe that it is a human tendency to act in its own interest. The nurse must believe that life should be considered as invaluable regardless of the condition of the patient, with the patient often believing that quality of life is more important than duration. Nurse and patient, realizing that they can make choices based on these assumptions, can work together for a common acceptable nursing plan ( 11 ).


The person applying critical thinking works to develop the following attitudes and characteristics independence of thought, fairness, insight into the personal and public level, humble intellect and postpone the crisis, spiritual courage, integrity, perseverance, self-confidence, research interest considerations not only behind the feelings and emotions but also behind the thoughts and curiosity ( 12 ).

Independence of Thought

Individuals who apply critical thinking as they mature acquire knowledge and experiences and examine their beliefs under new evidence. The nurses do not remain to what they were taught in school, but are “open-minded” in terms of different intervention methods technical skills.


Those who apply critical thinking are independent in different ways, based on evidence and not panic or personal and group biases. The nurse takes into account the views of both the younger and older family members.

Perspicacity into Personal and Social Factors

Those who are using critical thinking and accept the possibility that their personal prejudices, social pressures and habits could affect their judgment greatly. So, they try to actively interpret their prejudices whenever they think and decide.

Humble Cerebration and Deferral Crisis

Humble intellect means to have someone aware of the limits of his own knowledge. So, those who apply critical thinking are willing to admit they do not know something and believe that what we all consider rectum cannot always be true, because new evidence may emerge.

Spiritual Courage

The values and beliefs are not always obtained by rationality, meaning opinions that have been researched and proven that are supported by reasons and information. The courage should be true to their new ground in situations where social penalties for incompatibility are strict. In many cases the nurses who supported an attitude according to which if investigations are proved wrong, they are canceled.

Use of critical thinking to mentally intact individuals question their knowledge and beliefs quickly and thoroughly and cause the knowledge of others so that they are willing to admit and appreciate inconsistencies of both their own beliefs and the beliefs of the others.


The perseverance shown by nurses in exploring effective solutions for patient problems and nursing each determination helps to clarify concepts and to distinguish related issues despite the difficulties and failures. Using critical thinking they resist the temptation to find a quick and simple answer to avoid uncomfortable situations such as confusion and frustration.

Confidence in the Justification

According to critical thinking through well motivated reasoning leads to reliable conclusions. Using critical thinking nurses develop both the inductive and the deductive reasoning. The nurse gaining more experience of mental process and improvement, does not hesitate to disagree and be troubled thereby acting as a role model to colleagues, inspiring them to develop critical thinking.

Interesting Thoughts and Feelings for Research

Nurses need to recognize, examine and inspect or modify the emotions involved with critical thinking. So, if they feel anger, guilt and frustration for some event in their work, they should follow some steps: To restrict the operations for a while to avoid hasty conclusions and impulsive decisions, discuss negative feelings with a trusted, consume some of the energy produced by emotion, for example, doing calisthenics or walking, ponder over the situation and determine whether the emotional response is appropriate. After intense feelings abate, the nurse will be able to proceed objectively to necessary conclusions and to take the necessary decisions.

The internal debate, that has constantly in mind that the use of critical thinking is full of questions. So, a research nurse calculates traditions but does not hesitate to challenge them if you do not confirm their validity and reliability.


In their shifts nurses act effectively without using critical thinking as many decisions are mainly based on habit and have a minimum reflection. Thus, higher critical thinking skills are put into operation, when some new ideas or needs are displayed to take a decision beyond routine. The nursing process is a systematic, rational method of planning and providing specialized nursing ( 13 ). The steps of the nursing process are assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, evaluation. The health care is setting the priorities of the day to apply critical thinking ( 14 ). Each nurse seeks awareness of reasoning as he/she applies the criteria and considerations and as thinking evolves ( 15 ).

Problem Solving

Problem solving helps to acquire knowledge as nurse obtains information explaining the nature of the problem and recommends possible solutions which evaluate and select the application of the best without rejecting them in a possible appeal of the original. Also, it approaches issues when solving problems that are often used is the empirical method, intuition, research process and the scientific method modified ( 16 ).

Experiential Method

This method is mainly used in home care nursing interventions where they cannot function properly because of the tools and equipment that are incomplete ( 17 ).

Intuition is the perception and understanding of concepts without the conscious use of reasoning. As a problem solving approach, as it is considered by many, is a form of guessing and therefore is characterized as an inappropriate basis for nursing decisions. But others see it as important and legitimate aspect of the crisis gained through knowledge and experience. The clinical experience allows the practitioner to recognize items and standards and approach the right conclusions. Many nurses are sensing the evolution of the patient’s condition which helps them to act sooner although the limited information. Despite the fact that the intuitive method of solving problems is recognized as part of nursing practice, it is not recommended for beginners or students because the cognitive level and the clinical experience is incomplete and does not allow a valid decision ( 16 ).

Research Process / Scientifically Modified Method

The research method is a worded, rational and systematic approach to problem solving. Health professionals working in uncontrolled situations need to implement a modified approach of the scientific method of problem solving. With critical thinking being important in all processes of problem solving, the nurse considers all possible solutions and decides on the choice of the most appropriate solution for each case ( 18 ).

The Decision

The decision is the selection of appropriate actions to fulfill the desired objective through critical thinking. Decisions should be taken when several exclusive options are available or when there is a choice of action or not. The nurse when facing multiple needs of patients, should set priorities and decide the order in which they help their patients. They should therefore: a) examine the advantages and disadvantages of each option, b) implement prioritization needs by Maslow, c) assess what actions can be delegated to others, and d) use any framework implementation priorities. Even nurses make decisions about their personal and professional lives. The successive stages of decision making are the Recognition of Objective or Purpose, Definition of criteria, Calculation Criteria, Exploration of Alternative Solutions, Consideration of Alternative Solutions, Design, Implementation, Evaluation result ( 16 ).

The contribution of critical thinking in decision making

Acquiring critical thinking and opinion is a question of practice. Critical thinking is not a phenomenon and we should all try to achieve some level of critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions successfully ( 19 - 21 ).

It is vital that the alteration of growing research or application of the Socratic Method or other technique since nurses revise the evaluation criteria of thinking and apply their own reasoning. So when they have knowledge of their own reasoning-as they apply critical thinking-they can detect syllogistic errors ( 22 – 26 ).


In responsible positions nurses should be especially aware of the climate of thought that is implemented and actively create an environment that stimulates and encourages diversity of opinion and research ideas ( 27 ). The nurses will also be applied to investigate the views of people from different cultures, religions, social and economic levels, family structures and different ages. Managing nurses should encourage colleagues to scrutinize the data prior to draw conclusions and to avoid “group thinking” which tends to vary without thinking of the will of the group. Critical thinking is an essential process for the safe, efficient and skillful nursing practice. The nursing education programs should adopt attitudes that promote critical thinking and mobilize the skills of critical reasoning.


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08 March 2023

Android 14 Developer Preview 2

think critically about 14 2 and 14 3

Android delivers enhancements and new features year-round, and your feedback on the  Android 14 developer preview and  Quarterly Platform Release (QPR) beta program  plays a key role in helping Android continuously improve. The Android 14 developer site has lots more information about the preview, including downloads for Pixel and the release timeline . We’re looking forward to hearing what you think , and thank you in advance for your continued help in making Android a platform that works for everyone.

Working across form factors

Privacy and security.

Privacy and security have always been a core part of Android's mission, built on the foundation of app sandboxing, open source code, and open app development. In Android 14, we’re building the highest quality platform for all by providing a safer device environment and giving users more controls to protect their information.

Selected photos access

We recommend that you use the Photo Picker if your app needs to access media that the user selects; it provides a permissionless experience on devices running Android 4.4 onwards, using a combination of core platform features, Google Play system updates, and Google Play services.

think critically about 14 2 and 14 3

In the new dialog, the permission choices will be:

  • Allow access to all photos : the full library of all on-device photos & videos is available
  • Select photos : only the user's selection of photos & videos will be temporarily available via MediaStore
  • Don’t allow : access to all photos and videos is denied

Apps can prompt users to select media again by requesting the media permissions again and having the READ_MEDIA_VISUAL_USER_SELECTED permission declared in their app manifest .

Please test this new behavior with your apps and adapt your UX to handle the new permission and the media file reselection flow.

Credential manager

Android 14 adds Credential Manager as a platform API, and we're supporting it back to Android 4.4 (API level 19) devices through a Jetpack Library with a Google Play services implementation. It aims to make sign-in easier for users with APIs that retrieve and store credentials with user-configured credential providers. In addition to supporting passwords, the API allows your app to sign-in using passkeys , the new industry standard for passwordless sign-in. Passkeys are built on industry standards, can work across different operating systems and browser ecosystems, and can be used with both websites and apps. Developer Preview 2 features improvements in the UI styling for the account selector, along with changes to the API based upon feedback from Developer Preview 1. Learn more here .

Safer implicit intents

For apps targeting Android 14, creating a mutable pending intent with an implicit intent will throw an exception, preventing them from being able to be used to trigger unexpected code paths. Apps need to either make the pending intent immutable or make the intent explicit. Learn more here .

Background activity launching

Android 10 (API level 29) and higher place restrictions on when apps can start activities when the app is running in the background. These restrictions help minimize interruptions for the user and keep them more in control of what's shown on their screen. To further reduce instances of unexpected interruptions, Android 14 gives foreground apps more control over the ability of apps they interact with to start activities. Specifically, apps targeting Android 14 need to grant privileges to start activities in the background when sending a PendingIntent or when binding a Service.

Streamlining background work

Android 14 continues our effort to optimize the way apps work together, improve system health and battery life, and polish the end-user experience.

Background optimizations

Fewer non-dismissible notifications

Notifications on Android 14 containing FLAG_ONGOING_EVENT will be user dismissible on unlocked handheld devices. Notifications will stay non-dismissible when the device is locked, and notification listeners will not be able to dismiss these notifications. Notifications that are important to device functionality, like system and device policy notifications, will remain fully non-dismissible.

Improved App Store Experiences

Android 14 introduces several new PackageInstaller APIs which allow app stores to improve their user experience, including the requestUserPreapproval() method that allows the download of APKs to be deferred until after the installation has been approved, the setRequestUpdateOwnership() method that allows an installer to indicate that it is responsible for future updates to an app it is installing, and the setDontKillApp() method that can seamlessly install optional features of an app through split APKs while the app is in use. Also, the InstallConstraints API gives installers a way to ensure that app updates happen at an opportune moment, such as when an app is no longer in use.

If you develop an app store, please give these APIs a try and let us know what you think !


think critically about 14 2 and 14 3

Regional preferences enable users to personalize temperature units, the first day of the week, and numbering systems. A European living in the United States might prefer temperature units to be in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit and for apps to treat Monday as the beginning of the week instead of the US default of Sunday.

App compatibility

We’re working to make updates faster and smoother with each platform release by prioritizing app compatibility. In Android 14 we’ve made most app-facing changes opt-in to give you more time to make any necessary app changes, and we’ve updated our tools and processes to help you get ready sooner.

Developer Preview 2 is in the period where we're looking for input on our APIs, along with details on how platform changes affect your apps, so now is the time to try new features and give us your feedback .

It’s also a good time to start your compatibility testing and identify any work you’ll need to do. You can test some of them without changing your app's targetSdkVersion using the behavior change toggles in Developer Options. This will help you get a preliminary idea of how your app might be affected by opt-in changes in Android 14.

Image of a partial screen shot of a device showing App compatibility toggles in Developer Options

Platform Stability is when we’ll deliver final SDK/NDK APIs and app-facing system behaviors. We’re expecting to reach Platform Stability in June 2023, and from that time you’ll have several weeks before the official release to do your final testing. The release timeline details are here .

Get started with Android 14

The Developer Preview has everything you need to try the Android 14 features, test your apps, and give us feedback . For testing your app with tablets and foldables, the easiest way to get started is using the Android Emulator in a tablet or foldable configuration in the latest preview of the Android Studio SDK Manager . For phones, you can get started today by flashing a system image onto a Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, or Pixel 4a (5G) device. If you don’t have a Pixel device, you can use the 64-bit system images with the Android Emulator in Android Studio.

For the best development experience with Android 14, we recommend that you use the latest preview of Android Studio Giraffe (or more recent Giraffe+ versions). Once you’re set up , here are some of the things you should do:

  • Try the new features and APIs - your feedback is critical during the early part of the developer preview. Report issues in our tracker on the feedback page .
  • Test your current app for compatibility - learn whether your app is affected by default behavior changes in Android 14; install your app onto a device or emulator running Android 14 and extensively test it.
  • Test your app with opt-in changes - Android 14 has opt-in behavior changes that only affect your app when it’s targeting the new platform. It’s important to understand and assess these changes early. To make it easier to test, you can toggle the changes on and off individually .

We’ll update the preview system images and SDK regularly throughout the Android 14 release cycle. This preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so it will only available by manual download for new Android 14 developer preview users. Once you’ve manually installed a preview build, you’ll automatically get future updates over-the-air for all later previews and Betas. Read more here .

If you intend to move from the Android 13 QPR Beta program to the Android 14 Developer Preview program and don't want to have to wipe your device, we recommend that you move to Developer Preview 2 now. Otherwise, you may run into time periods where the Android 13 Beta will have a more recent build date which will prevent you from going directly to the Android 14 Developer Preview without doing a data wipe.

As we reach our Beta releases, we'll be inviting consumers to try Android 14 as well, and we'll open up enrollment for the Android 14 Beta program at that time. For now, please note that the Android Beta program is not yet available for Android 14.

For complete information, visit the Android 14 developer site .

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What is critical thinking?

5 characteristics of critical thinking, what are critical thinking skills, and why are they important, 6 key critical thinking skills, critical thinking example in real-life, 13 ways to start thinking critically.

Whether you’re aiming to improve your performance at work or simply trying to live a more fulfilling life , you’ll need a variety of hard and soft skills to move the needle. Some skills come naturally to some people, while others need to develop them actively.

One of these skills is critical thinking. But critical thinking itself is made up of several types of skills that contribute to solving problems more effectively.

Let’s explore the different types of critical thinking skills and how you can start improving them to level up your career.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze facts objectively and form a judgment. It is a form of emotional intelligence .

Someone with critical thinking skills can think clearly and rationally when the situation demands it. It allows them to perform problem-solving and decision-making more effectively. 

As a result, you can look further than what you see at face value. You’re able to analyze what you see from a situation and gain some insight that goes further than what’s obvious to anyone from the outside.

Critical thinking also requires being able to understand the logical connection between two or more ideas or concepts. For example, a team working on a company’s pricing strategy needs to think critically about several concepts. 

Both the marketing and sales teams must work together. They need to analyze how to maximize sales. But they need to do so while also meeting profit goals. It’s important to understand the logical connection between sales strategy and marketing logistics. It’s the only way to get a good outcome.

Critical thinking is different from creative thinking . Creative thinking is the ability to generate brand new, innovative ideas. On the other hand, critical thinking requires you to carefully and logically analyze what information is given to you. Both are important to maximize results in any given situation.


What defines critical thinking? How does it affect the decision-making process? Here are five characteristics that make up the ability to think critically.

1. Dispositions

Critical thinkers have specific traits that allow them to think the way they do. Some people are predisposed to these traits, while others need to develop them actively.

Some of these dispositions include:

  • Open-mindedness
  • Respecting evidence and reasoning
  • Being able to consider different perspectives and points of view: in other words, having cognitive flexibility
  • Not being stuck in one position
  • Clarity and precision

2. Argument

Good critical thinkers need to make solid arguments. 

An argument is making a statement aided by supporting evidence. It’s important to use well thought-out arguments when you’re in a constructive conflict . When analyzing a situation critically, you’ll need to make several arguments in your own mind to come to a judgment. 

3. Reasoning

In addition to arguments, critical thinking also requires inferring conclusions. From the facts and arguments presented to you, you need to use reasoning skills to come to a logical conclusion. 

This conclusion will determine the best course of action to take.


4. Criteria

Critical thinking is sometimes a matter of discerning truth from fiction. Not all facts presented to you may have the same level of truth. Certain conditions need to be met for something to be considered believable, and a critical thinker needs to be able to understand that.

5. Metacognition

Metacognition is the ability to think about your own thinking. Critical thinkers should be able to analyze their thoughts so that they can judge whether or not they’ve thought everything through. This helps them come up with better hypotheses.

The critical thinking skills definition is: soft skills that help you in the critical thinking process. Developing these skills can improve your ability to think critically.

Critical thinking skills are considered one of many durable skills in the workplace . Many of these are soft skills that are also useful in other situations.

According to research by America Succeeds, critical thinking is in the top five most requested durable skills in job postings. Those top five durable skills get requested 2.6x more often than the top five hard skills. This goes to show that soft skills like critical thinking skills are in demand in the workplace.

Critical thinking skills are important for several reasons. These include helping you work independently and solve problems . Not all positions require ongoing critical thinking. But, those skills definitely matter to anyone who wants to uplevel their career. And even the most easygoing positions require at least some level of critical thinking skills.

For example, working as an accountant can be straightforward in most cases. But it may require critical thinking skills. For instance, what if certain expenses aren’t easily distributed in simple categories? Without critical thinking skills, an accountant will struggle to work independently and solve problems on their own.

Critical thinking abilities also matter in everyday life. Having a foundation for critical thinking can help you analyze several possible solutions for problems that pop up in the home. It can also help you:

  • Analyze different viewpoints
  • Come up with the best solution for complex problems
  • Become a better learner

The key critical thinking skills are identifying biases, inference, research, identification, curiosity, and judging relevance.

Let’s explore these six critical thinking skills you should learn and why they’re so important to the critical thinking process.

1. Identifying biases

This critical thinking skill is necessary for metacognition, which is the fifth characteristic of critical thinking. It involves knowing when others have a cognitive bias and when you have one yourself.

Biases can influence how someone understands the facts presented to them. But when you’re aware of those biases, you can question yourself on those biases and consider other points of view.

Identifying biases is especially important for people who make hiring decisions. That’s because biases against groups of minorities can lead to inequalities in the workplace when not identified. 

For example, imagine a hiring manager comparing two resumes. Their gut feeling could guide them to discount one of the resumes due to a bias against the opposite gender. But let’s say this hiring manager realizes they have this bias. They can then question themselves on whether or not this bias is influencing their judgment. 

2. Inference

Inference is the ability to draw conclusions based on the information you have. Without inference, it can be difficult to take action once you’ve analyzed the facts presented to you. Processing information is key to coming up with a reasoned judgment.

For example, let’s go back to the accountant struggling to assign the correct category to a business expense. They can analyze other similar situations and infer the most logical category based on that information.

3. Research

Before you analyze facts and infer a conclusion, you need to find out what those facts are. Researching skills allow you to discover facts and figures to make an argument.

Not all situations will have the required information available to you. Researching skills are necessary to dig into a situation and gather the information you need to think critically.

Some situations don’t require further research. For example, a first responder who arrives on the scene of an automobile accident won’t perform further research. They’ll have to analyze what they see in front of them and decide which injuries are the most urgent to care for. 

On the other hand, someone performing a market analysis will need to research competitors and gather information before coming up with an opinion. 

4. Identification

Identification is different from inference and research. It involves being able to identify a problem but also what’s influencing that problem.

In short, identification is necessary for someone to realize that they need to think critically about something. Without proper identification skills, it will be difficult for someone to know when it’s time to analyze a situation. 

For example, let’s say you’re entering numbers in a spreadsheet. The numbers aren’t coming out as they usually do. Without identification skills, you could easily keep going without realizing there’s an issue. But when you identify what’s going on, you can see that something is broken in the spreadsheet’s formula.

Only once you identify the fact that the formula is broken can you start analyzing what’s going on to solve the issue.

5. Curiosity

Don’t be afraid to question everything and explore what you’re curious about. That’s because intellectual curiosity is a valuable skill, especially when it comes to critical thinking.

One way to practice curiosity is to adopt a beginner’s mindset . When you come into every situation with the mindset of a beginner, you’re able to keep an open mind. You’ll be able to perceive things you may not have noticed when keeping your mind closed.

6. Judging relevance

Not all information is equally pertinent. In order to make a critical judgment, it’s important to be able to judge the relevance of the information you have.

Take, for instance, basic online researching skills. You have access to a plethora of information on virtually every topic imaginable. But performing online research requires you to constantly judge the relevance of what you see. 

Without judging relevance, you’d spend too much time on details that don’t matter as much for the final desired outcome. But when you’re able to discern what’s most pertinent, you can give that information more weight as you’re thinking critically.


So what would critical thinking skills look like in a real-life situation?

Let’s imagine you’re working in software quality assurance (QA) as a team lead. But every time your team needs to enter bug regression, everyone gets bottlenecked because you must manually populate the spreadsheet used for the regression. While you do this task, your team cannot be productive without you.

This process happens once a week and easily wastes half an hour for each team member.

First, you must identify what’s going on. The team gets bottlenecked because only you, as the team lead, can access the information required to fill in the regression spreadsheet.

Next, you can research information. You can inquire to higher-ups about the reason why only you have access to this information. You can also speak to other teams about what potential solutions they’ve come up with to solve this problem.

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to analyze the information and judge relevance. Some teams have solutions that don’t apply to you, so that information isn’t relevant anymore. 

Figure out if there are any personal biases before you analyze your information. 

For example, it’s possible that you don’t get along with one of the other team leads. As a result, you could discount the information they’ve given you. But by identifying this bias, you can look past your personal opinion of this person and see how valuable their solution is.

Based on what you’ve analyzed, it’s time to brainstorm and come up with a solution. You realize that creating a simple, automated script will save your team’s time. And it will do so without consuming too many resources from the engineering department.

Next, present your solution to your manager. Explain how you came to this conclusion. 

Now, let’s say your spreadsheet automation solution is approved. It’s important to go back and analyze what happens after implementing the solution. But only do this once the spreadsheet has been in place for long enough to gather plenty of information. 

Here’s an example. You could realize that the solution did solve the bottleneck. But, the script also slows down the spreadsheet and makes it difficult to work with. This would require you to go back to the drawing board and start the process all over again.

Want to start improving your own critical thinking skill sets? Here’s how you can improve critical thinking skills using 13 techniques:

  • Play games that require critical thinking skills
  • Ask more questions, even basic ones
  • Question your assumptions
  • Develop your technical skills so that you can identify problems more easily
  • Find ways to solve more problems (at work and at home)
  • Become aware of your mental processes, like the availability heuristic
  • Think for yourself: don’t adopt other people’s opinions without questioning them first
  • Seek out diversity of thought
  • Start developing foresight
  • Try active listening
  • Weigh the consequences of different actions before you act
  • Seek a mentor who can help you develop these skills
  • Get professional coaching


How to improve your critical thinking skills 

Critical thinking skills aren’t always easy to develop. But it’s much easier to start thinking critically when you have someone to work with. Try a custom BetterUp demo to see how a coach can help you develop your critical thinking skills today.

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Maggie Wooll

Thought Leader

How to develop critical thinking skills

What’s convergent thinking how to be a better problem-solver, why self-management is key to success and how to improve yours, how intrapersonal skills shape teams, plus 5 ways to build them, the most critical skills for leaders are fundamentally human, the new skill set needed to succeed in the hybrid workplace, building strength for tomorrow: new president of betterup care™ on extending proactive mental health across the enterprise, what is social well-being definition, types, and how to achieve it, the 5 business communication skills worth perfecting, similar articles, what is lateral thinking 7 techniques to encourage creative ideas, 9 cognitive skill examples and how to improve them, how to pitch ideas: 8 tips to captivate any audience, what is creative thinking and why does it matter, how the minto pyramid principle can enhance your communication skills, rational persuasion: how to influence your team through logic, what are adaptability skills 8 tips to shine in the face of adversity, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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