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Why Is Critical Thinking Important? A Survival Guide


Why is critical thinking important? The decisions that you make affect your quality of life. And if you want to ensure that you live your best, most successful and happy life, you’re going to want to make conscious choices. That can be done with a simple thing known as critical thinking. Here’s how to improve your critical thinking skills and make decisions that you won’t regret.

What Is Critical Thinking?

You’ve surely heard of critical thinking, but you might not be entirely sure what it really means, and that’s because there are many definitions. For the most part, however, we think of critical thinking as the process of analyzing facts in order to form a judgment. Basically, it’s thinking about thinking.

How Has The Definition Evolved Over Time?

The first time critical thinking was documented is believed to be in the teachings of Socrates , recorded by Plato. But throughout history, the definition has changed.

Today it is best understood by philosophers and psychologists and it’s believed to be a highly complex concept. Some insightful modern-day critical thinking definitions include :

  • “Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.”
  • “Deciding what’s true and what you should do.”

The Importance Of Critical Thinking

Why is critical thinking important? Good question! Here are a few undeniable reasons why it’s crucial to have these skills.

  • Critical Thinking Is Universal Critical thinking is a domain-general thinking skill. What does this mean? It means that no matter what path or profession you pursue, these skills will always be relevant and will always be beneficial to your success. They are not specific to any field.
  • Crucial For The Economy Our future depends on technology, information, and innovation. Critical thinking is needed for our fast-growing economies, to solve problems as quickly and as effectively as possible.
  • Improves Language & Presentation Skills In order to best express ourselves, we need to know how to think clearly and systematically — meaning practice critical thinking! Critical thinking also means knowing how to break down texts, and in turn, improve our ability to comprehend.
  • Promotes Creativity By practicing critical thinking, we are allowing ourselves not only to solve problems but also to come up with new and creative ideas to do so. Critical thinking allows us to analyze these ideas and adjust them accordingly.

Woman deep into thought as she looks out the window, using her critical thinking skills to do some self-reflection.

  • The Basis Of Science & Democracy In order to have a democracy and to prove scientific facts, we need critical thinking in the world. Theories must be backed up with knowledge. In order for a society to effectively function, its citizens need to establish opinions about what’s right and wrong (by using critical thinking!).

Benefits Of Critical Thinking

We know that critical thinking is good for society as a whole, but what are some benefits of critical thinking on an individual level? Why is critical thinking important for us?

  • Key For Career Success Critical thinking is crucial for many career paths. Not just for scientists, but lawyers , doctors, reporters, engineers , accountants, and analysts (among many others) all have to use critical thinking in their positions. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, critical thinking is one of the most desirable skills to have in the workforce, as it helps analyze information, think outside the box, solve problems with innovative solutions, and plan systematically.
  • Better Decision Making There’s no doubt about it — critical thinkers make the best choices. Critical thinking helps us deal with everyday problems as they come our way, and very often this thought process is even done subconsciously. It helps us think independently and trust our gut feeling.
  • Can Make You Happier! While this often goes unnoticed, being in touch with yourself and having a deep understanding of why you think the way you think can really make you happier. Critical thinking can help you better understand yourself, and in turn, help you avoid any kind of negative or limiting beliefs, and focus more on your strengths. Being able to share your thoughts can increase your quality of life.
  • Form Well-Informed Opinions There is no shortage of information coming at us from all angles. And that’s exactly why we need to use our critical thinking skills and decide for ourselves what to believe. Critical thinking allows us to ensure that our opinions are based on the facts, and help us sort through all that extra noise.
  • Better Citizens One of the most inspiring critical thinking quotes is by former US president Thomas Jefferson: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” What Jefferson is stressing to us here is that critical thinkers make better citizens, as they are able to see the entire picture without getting sucked into biases and propaganda.
  • Improves Relationships While you may be convinced that being a critical thinker is bound to cause you problems in relationships, this really couldn’t be less true! Being a critical thinker can allow you to better understand the perspective of others, and can help you become more open-minded towards different views.
  • Promotes Curiosity Critical thinkers are constantly curious about all kinds of things in life, and tend to have a wide range of interests. Critical thinking means constantly asking questions and wanting to know more, about why, what, who, where, when, and everything else that can help them make sense of a situation or concept, never taking anything at face value.
  • Allows For Creativity Critical thinkers are also highly creative thinkers, and see themselves as limitless when it comes to possibilities. They are constantly looking to take things further, which is crucial in the workforce.
  • Enhances Problem Solving Skills Those with critical thinking skills tend to solve problems as part of their natural instinct. Critical thinkers are patient and committed to solving the problem, similar to Albert Einstein, one of the best critical thinking examples, who said “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Critical thinkers’ enhanced problem-solving skills makes them better at their jobs and better at solving the world’s biggest problems. Like Einstein, they have the potential to literally change the world.
  • An Activity For The Mind Just like our muscles, in order for them to be strong, our mind also needs to be exercised and challenged. It’s safe to say that critical thinking is almost like an activity for the mind — and it needs to be practiced. Critical thinking encourages the development of many crucial skills such as logical thinking, decision making, and open-mindness.
  • Creates Independence When we think critically, we think on our own as we trust ourselves more. Critical thinking is key to creating independence, and encouraging students to make their own decisions and form their own opinions.
  • Crucial Life Skill Critical thinking is crucial not just for learning, but for life overall! Education isn’t just a way to prepare ourselves for life, but it’s pretty much life itself. Learning is a lifelong process that we go through each and every day.

How to Think Critically

Now that you know the benefits of thinking critically, how do you actually do it?

How To Improve Your Critical Thinking

  • Define Your Question: When it comes to critical thinking, it’s important to always keep your goal in mind. Know what you’re trying to achieve, and then figure out how to best get there.
  • Gather Reliable Information: Make sure that you’re using sources you can trust — biases aside. That’s how a real critical thinker operates!
  • Ask The Right Questions: We all know the importance of questions, but be sure that you’re asking the right questions that are going to get you to your answer.
  • Look Short & Long Term: When coming up with solutions, think about both the short- and long-term consequences. Both of them are significant in the equation.
  • Explore All Sides: There is never just one simple answer, and nothing is black or white. Explore all options and think outside of the box before you come to any conclusions.

How Is Critical Thinking Developed At School?

Critical thinking is developed in nearly everything we do. However, much of this important skill is encouraged to be practiced at school, and rightfully so! Critical thinking goes beyond just thinking clearly — it’s also about thinking for yourself.

When a teacher asks a question in class, students are given the chance to answer for themselves and think critically about what they learned and what they believe to be accurate. When students work in groups and are forced to engage in discussion, this is also a great chance to expand their thinking and use their critical thinking skills.

How Does Critical Thinking Apply To Your Career?

Once you’ve finished school and entered the workforce, your critical thinking journey only expands and grows from here!

Impress Your Employer

Employers value employees who are critical thinkers, ask questions, offer creative ideas, and are always ready to offer innovation against the competition. No matter what your position or role in a company may be, critical thinking will always give you the power to stand out and make a difference.

Careers That Require Critical Thinking

Some of many examples of careers that require critical thinking include:

  • Human resources specialist
  • Marketing associate
  • Business analyst

Truth be told however, it’s probably harder to come up with a professional field that doesn’t require any critical thinking!

Photo by  Oladimeji Ajegbile  from  Pexels

What is someone with critical thinking skills capable of doing.

Someone with critical thinking skills is able to think rationally and clearly about what they should or not believe. They are capable of engaging in their own thoughts, and doing some reflection in order to come to a well-informed conclusion.

A critical thinker understands the connections between ideas, and is able to construct arguments based on facts, as well as find mistakes in reasoning.

The Process Of Critical Thinking

The process of critical thinking is highly systematic.

What Are Your Goals?

Critical thinking starts by defining your goals, and knowing what you are ultimately trying to achieve.

Once you know what you are trying to conclude, you can foresee your solution to the problem and play it out in your head from all perspectives.

What Does The Future Of Critical Thinking Hold?

The future of critical thinking is the equivalent of the future of jobs. In 2020, critical thinking was ranked as the 2nd top skill (following complex problem solving) by the World Economic Forum .

We are dealing with constant unprecedented changes, and what success is today, might not be considered success tomorrow — making critical thinking a key skill for the future workforce.

Why Is Critical Thinking So Important?

Why is critical thinking important? Critical thinking is more than just important! It’s one of the most crucial cognitive skills one can develop.

By practicing well-thought-out thinking, both your thoughts and decisions can make a positive change in your life, on both a professional and personal level. You can hugely improve your life by working on your critical thinking skills as often as you can.

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The Importance of Critical Thinking For A Student 2023

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What is the significance of critical thinking? Critical thinking is at the core of learning because it allows students to reflect on and comprehend their perspectives. Based on personal reflection and understanding, this skill assists a student in determining how to understand the world around them.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Many assume that being critical means being typical, a negative approach to thinking about it.  To lay it off, individuals can analyse their thinking and present evidence for their ideas instead of accepting personal opinions as substantial proof. When students develop critical thinking skills, they gain various benefits, including improved learning abilities and compassion for the perspectives of others. A person with strong critical thinking will challenge the given information, dismiss any untrustworthy or unscientific logic, and scrutinise the information's sources. They are knowledgeable and can assess the value of discussion and deduce careful but evidence-based conclusions. It is precious for students because it allows them to write essays and assignments without social or personal prejudice.

How Critical Thinking Skills Help Students in Their Careers and Personal Life?

Below is a list of ways critical thinking helps students in their careers and personal life. This list will show the importance of critical thinking for students. 

Key To Career Success

Numerous career paths require critical thinking. Not only scientists but also litigators, doctors, media professionals, engineers, accounting professionals, and analysts (to name a few) must use critical thinking in their jobs. Indeed, critical thinking is among the most relevant skills to possess in the workforce, as stated by the World Economic Forum. Because it helps analyse data, think out of the box, resolve issues with creative solutions, and plan methodically.

Enhances Creativity & Curiosity

Critical thinkers are always curious about everything in life and possess diverse interests. ‍

Critical thinking entails continuously asking questions and wanting to learn more about why, who, what, when, and where, as well as everything else that can assist them in making sense of a circumstance or notion. They will never accept anything at face value. They are incredibly creative thinkers who see themselves as having endless potential. ‍

Critical thinkers are always looking for ways to improve, which is essential in the workplace.

Enhances Research Skills

Critical thinking will help you improve your research abilities by observing, analysing, synthesising, and conducting detailed experiments with every element for effective results.

Elevates Autonomous Learning

If we think deeply, we believe more independently because we trust ourselves more. Critical thinking is essential for empowering learners to make choices and develop views.

Be a Good Communicator

While you may believe being a critical thinker will cause relationship problems, this could not be further from the truth! Being a critical thinker can assist you in better comprehending the perspectives of others and becoming more open-minded to different points of view. You learn how to communicate your feelings. 

Solve Problems

Problem-solving is a basic reflex for those with the ability to think critically. Critical thinkers are attentive and dedicated to solving problems. As Albert Einstein stated, "It's not that I'm so intelligent; it's just that I stay with issues longer." Critical thinkers' advanced problem-solving abilities enable them to excel at their jobs and fix the world's most challenging problems. They can transform the world for the better. 

Make Sense of Information 

Being a critical thinker means dealing with data more seriously than the rest. Hence you would learn how to evaluate information. It will help you separate the crucial information from the redundant ones. 

Make Decisions

There's no denying that critical thinkers make the best decisions. Critical thinking helps us cope with daily issues, and this method is often achieved subconsciously. ‍

It teaches us to think for ourselves and to trust our instincts. This will further help you in your career and life in general. 

Helps in Analysing Arguments

Analysing arguments is not an easy skill to hone. But when you think critically, you are open-minded. You see things from more than one perspective, which helps you to analyse the argument better than the rest.

Make Students Ask the Right Questions

Another excellent way to improve critical thinking is to pose as many questions as possible; this will necessitate the student to be curious about various topics. When a person develops the practice of asking questions, it improves their knowledge of the subject and eliminates any doubts they may have had. This also enhances the student's ability to analyse situations. Thinking critically will improve dramatically as each topic is examined from various angles.

Students Learn to Think Out-of-the-Box

Once you start thinking critically, you will have a wide set of ideas. You will be forced to think out of the box in challenging situations, which will also help you think faster. 

Importance of Critical Thinking

1. Enhanced Decision Making : Critical thinking enables individuals to evaluate all available information and make well-informed decisions rather than making choices based on emotion or limited data.

2. Problem Solving : It aids in approaching problems methodically and logically, allowing for the development of viable solutions based on thorough evaluation.

3. Independence of Thought : Critical thinkers are less reliant on others to tell them what to believe, as they possess the skills to evaluate information on their own.

4. Discernment of Information : In our age of information overload, it's vital to distinguish between credible sources and misinformation or biases.

5. Improved Communication : Critical thinkers can clearly articulate their thoughts, understanding, and the reasons behind their beliefs, leading to more productive discussions and debates.

6. Broadened Perspective : It encourages open-mindedness and the ability to view issues and scenarios from multiple angles and perspectives.

7. Academic Success : Critical thinking is crucial for understanding complex concepts, evaluating arguments, and weaving together information from various sources.

8. Personal Growth : It helps in self-reflection, aiding individuals in understanding their beliefs, values, and actions better.

9. Adaptability : Critical thinkers are better equipped to adapt to changing environments or circumstances, as they can evaluate new information and understand its implications.

10. Ethical Considerations : Critical thinking often involves considering the ethical implications of decisions, leading to more morally sound choices.

11. Prevention of Problems : By anticipating potential challenges and assessing various solutions, critical thinkers can prevent certain issues from arising.

12. Enhanced Creativity : While critical thinking and creativity might seem opposed, the former can actually enhance the latter by encouraging a deeper understanding of problems, which can lead to innovative solutions.

Why is critical thinking important for students?

Critical thinking is paramount for students because it equips them with the ability to independently analyse, evaluate, and form logical conclusions from the vast information they encounter. In our rapidly changing and information-saturated world, students are often bombarded with diverse perspectives, data, and arguments. Possessing the skill of critical thinking allows students to discern the validity and relevance of this information, differentiating between mere opinion and evidence-based facts. Moreover, it fosters problem-solving abilities, encouraging them to approach challenges with an open and investigative mindset rather than resorting to rote memorisation or passive acceptance. As students venture into higher education and the professional world, these critical thinking skills set the foundation for lifelong learning and ensure they contribute to discussions and decision-making processes in their respective fields.

Importance of critical thinking in academic life

In academic life, critical thinking plays a pivotal role in bolstering the depth and quality of learning. The academic realm is characterised by complex ideas, competing theories, and a vast array of data. To navigate this environment effectively, students must be able to evaluate evidence, recognise logical connections, discern biases, and challenge assumptions. Engaging critically with academic materials allows learners to comprehend subjects at a profound level, rather than merely absorbing information superficially. This not only enhances their retention but also allows them to integrate new knowledge with prior understanding, fostering a richer academic experience. Additionally, a well-honed critical thinking ability prepares students for advanced studies where independent research, thesis formulation, and nuanced discussions become paramount. 

How does critical thinking help students?

Critical thinking empowers students by equipping them with the tools necessary to evaluate, analyse, and synthesise information, paving the way for informed decision-making and problem-solving. Rather than passively accepting information, students with honed critical thinking skills actively interrogate content, seeking to understand its relevance, validity, and implications. This ability enhances comprehension and ensures that the knowledge acquired is both meaningful and applicable. Additionally, critical thinking aids students in identifying biases, avoiding fallacies, and navigating the complexities of multifaceted arguments. This skillset not only bolsters their academic performance but also prepares them for real-world challenges where they must sift through vast amounts of information and make informed decisions. 

How Can Students Develop Their Critical Thinking Skills?

Below are some practical ways to enhance critical thinking skills with any topic or subject. Teachers and students must be creative to incorporate critical thinking better.

Make Inquiries

It is essential to raise more questions to improve critical thinking skills. The more queries you ask, your curiosity and desire to learn increase. The questions will help you clarify your thoughts and make conceptualising and analysing easier.

Identify a Topic Objectively

When a specific topic arises in mind, no matter what the subject, the student should think about that objectively. The first step is to cognitively draw a table with the advantages and disadvantages of each side. This will assist a student in gaining better knowledge of the subject. Any subsequent decisions will be based on logical discourse.

Examine the Ramifications

You can access a variety of options by posing questions. But you should not make a rash decision. As a result, it will help in resolving your issues.

Learn to Listen Actively

You must be an effective listener before being a critical thinker. A student may ask many questions to accomplish their quest, but they must also be a good listener to get the answers. Listen to other people's ideas, points of view, and thoughts; these should help you make your own choices. Thus it shows the importance of critical thinking for students.

Keep Reading

Only limited data can be gathered through discussion and observation. If students incorporate reading into their daily routine, their minds will be exposed to various concepts and theories. Great books contain the thoughts and opinions of a few of the world's greatest brains. Students will have differing opinions on some of the material they will read. ‍

But that is the point of reading; it develops critical thinking while also giving a better appreciation of how philosophies and ideas are thought from a different perspective, thereby improving the subject's comprehension.

Discussions with Classmates

Simply knowing about a subject is insufficient. A student should always remember that learning is an ongoing process that will gradually lead to beneficial and perpetual change. One must constantly participate in conversations and debates with peers to accomplish this. Students will notice that they are becoming more intrigued by new topics and understanding. It also teaches the student how to understand different points of view. This will also help you comprehend how other children understand a given topic. 


To conclude, critical thinking is far more than necessary! This article talks about the importance of critical thinking for students. It represents one of the most significant cognitive abilities to cultivate. 

By practising well-thought-out thinking, you can have a positive impact on your life on personal and professional levels. Continuing to work on your critical thinking skills as frequently as possible can significantly enrich your life.

1. Why is critical thinking necessary for students?  ‍

They assist us in making sound decisions, comprehending the implications of our actions, and resolving problems. These crucial abilities are used for everything from putting together mysteries to determining the best path to work.

2. Why is critical thinking important in teaching? ‍

Critical thinking is at the frontline of learning since it is a handy tool for students to reflect on and comprehend their opinion. As they progress, this skill helps the student to identify how to understand the world around them using personal observation and understanding.

3. How do you improve your critical thinking skills? ‍

Critical thinking can be improved through metacognitive training, urging kids to respectfully challenge authority, creating learning societies, and incorporating critical thinking into early childhood education. ‍ ‍

4. What is the most essential aspect of critical thinking? ‍

Critical thinking skills are identifying prejudices, implications, research, identification, curiosity, and judging significance. The most important aspect is identifying the problem. ‍ ‍

5. How is critical thinking used in everyday life? ‍

The capacity to investigate the consequences and implications of a conviction or action is one of the fundamental critical thinking skills you require daily.

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The Benefits of Critical Thinking & How to develop it

March 01, 2023

The Benefits of Critical Thinking & How to develop it

Before we proceed to understand the importance and benefits of critical thinking for students, it is important to understand what critical thinking is.

Critical thinking is the mode of thinking about any subject, problem, or content. It skillfully thinks. Later, it implements and inherent those intellectual thoughts upon them. The best part of critical thinking is, it improves the quality of thinking.

It has intellectual values like clarity, sound evidence, precision, good reasons, relevance, consistency, depth, breadth, and fairness.

Critical thinking requires a proper process, it involves skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing different aspects, synthesizing, most importantly evaluating whatever information is gathered, keenly observing all factors, and experiencing the overall view.

Now let us understand the benefits of critical thinking.

1] it helps to improve decision making.

Critical thinking will let you make decisions by yourself. It will help you improve decision-making.

For students, while making career decisions or making a new career move, it is crucial to make quick decisions, and hence critical thinking plays a vital role here.

2] Enhances problem-solving ability

Problem-Solving is the key skill required for adapting to changes and facing challenges.

This skill of critical thinking should be developed by students to avoid making any situation complex and help find a solution to it.

For instance, two people in the same situation have been given and asked to find a solution. One person might take 5 minutes yet can’t give a relevant solution, whereas another person with problem-solving ability will dedicate enough time to research and provide a relevant solution.

Read Here: The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills & How to Develop Them

3] refine your research skills.

Critical Thinking will refine your research skills, moreover will help you research accurately by observing, analyzing, synthesizing, and experimenting with every aspect in detail for a better result.

4] Polishes your creativity

It will help you polish your creative side. Creativity unquestionably defines itself as a requisite skill in the collaborative modern workforce. As critical thinking will surely polish your creativity.

5] Stimulates Curiosity

It stimulates curiosity in you to find the right solution for the problem or the subject you are working on. Curiosity will let you dig and delve deeper to get a better result. This factor will let you stay a lifelong learner.

All these aspects of critical thinking play a vital role in Banking and financial sector. If you are seeking to develop these crucial skills, then you must certainly opt for ‘ Thandomal Shahani Centre for Management ’ institute based in Mulund, Mumbai.

It is one of the Best institutes, aids in developing critical thinking with its innovative teaching methodology, and focuses on comprehensive development, providing students with a globally relevant curriculum, and international faculty members who have hands-on business leadership.

Additionally, If you want to enroll in Professional Diploma in Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (PDBFSI) or top global MBA courses, you can visit the site for detailed information where you will find the program, curriculum, specializations, certifications, eligibility criteria, and everything related to it.

Now lets us learn how to develop Critical Thinking skills

– ask questions.

For developing critical skills, it is important to ask more questions. The more you ask questions, the more the curiosity and quest to learn increase. The questions will clarify your thinking, and conceptualizing and analyzing will become more accessible through it.

– Scrutinize the consequences

By asking questions, you have the availability of various options. However, you must not make a hasty decision. You have to scrutinize the consequences of each option and accordingly take a decision. Therefore, it will lead to solving your problems.

– Become Active Listener

To be a critical thinker, you need to first be an active listener. You will ask numerous questions to satisfy your quest, but to know the answers, you need to be a good listener too. Listen to different people’s thoughts, views, and opinions; these will help you form your own decisions.

Know what are the advantages of developing Critical Thinking Skills

advantages of developing critical thinking skills

Now that you know the importance and advantages of critical thinking.

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Importance of critical thinking: 13 compelling reasons

Disela Dassanayake

Not in the mood to read the full article? Listen to the audio podcast episode below .

What does critical thinking mean to you? The ability to think critically is an important skill to have, but not everyone is good at it. Some people think critically in certain situations, but their thinking becomes muddy in other situations. What’s important is that we can all learn this skill, which will help us make sound decisions.

Today’s workplace emphasizes data-driven decision-making, which makes critical thinking a skill more important than ever. The skill, however, is also vital to your personal life. We’ll discuss the importance of critical thinking in everyday life in this article. 

 So, what is critical thinking? Critical thinking can be defined as the mental process of analyzing and evaluating ideas and drawing logical conclusions. Before you start to apply critical thinking skills, this article dives deeper into understanding the importance of critical thinking as a soft skill.

Table of Contents

Listen to the audio article.

“Why Is Critical Thinking Important?”; listen to the audio cast of the full article on Anchor podcasts.

The importance of Critical thinking explained

It is crucial to think critically in this day and age because so much information is available. To figure out what is true and isn’t, you need to think critically and process information.

Importance of critical thinking

When you think critically, you make healthy, informed decisions based on facts rather than faulty assumptions. Think about how often you’ve made a decision based on emotion or gut instinct alone. These types of decisions can lead to unhealthy lifestyles, dire financial situations, unsound investments, and much more. 

Success in your personal and professional life depends on strong critical thinking abilities. So how do you improve your critical thinking? Here are some ways that can help you become a better critical thinker. Collectively these reasons illustrate why this skill is so valuable in everyday situations. 

1. Overcoming negative thinking

Critical thinking is dependent on self-confidence. You cannot critically analyze anything if you don’t believe in yourself to make the best decisions. You have to be able to assess situations and make decisions based on your end goals. 

 Making progress will be difficult if you are constantly doubting yourself. Low self-confidence makes people make less optimal decisions since they don’t think they can achieve better results. 

Becoming more confident allows you to think more critically in order to make better decisions. In addition, it negates the negative thoughts we usually have when making a decision.

How to be a critical thinker

2. Getting over biases

The way people make decisions is influenced by cognitive biases. This is evident when people have to choose between two options. Usually, we believe we come to an evidence-based conclusion on our own since it feels more natural to us. However, it is possible that our personal bias overshadowed the facts and truth.

However, the choice of one decision over another may not have been based on any logical reasoning. Most of the time, we make critical decisions based on biases rather than what is most optimal under the given circumstances.

It is important to be able to gather information about an issue and analyze it critically in order to challenge our own beliefs. This involves looking at your information sources objectively and determining their biases. Also, verifying the reliability of those sources with sufficient proof without depending on the face value. 

Only by doing this can one form an informed opinion on an issue and effectively engage with others in meaningful dialogue about it.

3. Improving your decision-making

Our senses allow us to critically evaluate what we see, hear, feel, smell, and read. Our mental faculties get energized and work at their best when we think critically. Whenever something doesn’t add up or doesn’t seem right, a critical thinker wants to figure out why.

Better decision-making comes from this kind of analytical thinking combined with strategic thinking; it can make people more productive and decisive.

4. Self-reflection

This means looking inward and questioning one’s own motivations, values, and beliefs. It allows people to analyze their thoughts more deeply. Although it can be uncomfortable, it is essential for growth. Without self-reflection, we are at risk of becoming stuck in our ways and resistant to change.

5. Evaluating multiple options

Critical thinking can help you solve problems more efficiently by focusing on one thing at a time. When analyzing options, you need to analyze them individually. 

 For example, Suppose you want to pick up groceries today. In that case, you have to consider everything else you have scheduled for the day, the peak time at the grocery store, the best time to get fresh produce, the availability of parking, etc. So you compare the time slots available to get to the store with these variables.

6. Gathering information from multiple sources

Critical thinking allows you to approach problems rationally. As we discussed earlier, a critical thinker approaches problems differently from those who do not possess this skill, such as gathering all relevant information from several sources before deciding.

It requires creativity, curiosity, and open-mindedness, as we must be open to new ideas and willing to look beyond what we already know. By doing so, we can see what really matters and cut through the noise.

7. Improving your ability to manage emotions

Critical thinking can provide you with effective tools for managing your emotions. You can use the skill to deal with your emotions more effectively. If you know how your emotions influence how you process information, you can learn to control these impulses before they affect your decisions.

 The key to making smart decisions is taming your emotions. Consider getting an email from your favourite brand offering a 70% discount. Your first thought may be to at the store on your way home. When you think critically, you will first check to see if you actually need more clothes this month before buying any.  

 Let’s say you were thinking about buying a new jacket.  Next, you would see whether jackets are included in the promotion. If they are, you should quickly check if there is any budget left this month to spend on clothing. If not, you might consider waiting until the next promotion is available.

8. Boosting your creativity

It’s easy to take a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach when you don’t have all the facts. That leads to mistakes, wasted time, and lost opportunities. With critical thinking, you can separate your emotions from your decisions to make more accurate choices that are more likely to lead to successful outcomes. 

Critical thinking helps you to be creative and think in unconventional ways. That could be the reason why some tech companies hire philosophy majors for their product development teams.

9. Building your character

Critical thinking skills can help you build your personality. Therefore, we must train ourselves to think in a structured way in order to develop our critical thinking skills. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, it will improve our judgment and decision-making skills in the long run. 

A critical thinker analyzes information objectively and logically. This means considering all the evidence and forming an unbiased opinion. Consequently, you can become more open-minded and open to new solutions that may push you out of your comfort zone.

Critical thinking also helps sharpen our judgment. The more confident we are in our ability to make better decisions, the less likely we are to be swayed by others. This will make our lives more fulfilling.  

10. Expanding your mental capacity

It makes us smarter. We’re better at remembering information than people who don’t use critical thinking skills. We can learn new things faster when we use critical thinking.

Spending a little extra time on something helps us remember it long-term. Our mental faculties improve when we use more mental energy to evaluate and weigh different options for a problem or opportunity.

11. Breaking bigger problems into smaller ones

Breaking down larger problems into smaller ones requires critical thinking. When faced with a huge problem, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Taking a step back and assessing the situation critically can help you break it down into smaller pieces.

It will give you a better idea of what you’re up against and how to deal with it. Once you have a better grasp of the situation, you can start developing smaller solutions that will eventually lead to solving the larger problem.

12. Learning new things quicker

The process of critical thinking makes it easier to learn new things. It’s about looking at things differently and finding out what’s really going on. We can learn faster and better this way.

Let’s say you’re learning a new language. It will be challenging and time-consuming to just memorize the basic syntax. With critical thinking, you can break down the parts of speech into their sub-components and understand how it all fits together. Critical thinking enhances language learning ability.

It is generally considered a necessary skill when learning any scientific subject. The World Federation for Medical Education, for example, has listed critical thinking as one of the medical training standards .

13. Positively improving relationships

Many people view critical thinking as a cold, calculating process. However, it can actually be quite valuable in our personal relationships. By critically examining our beliefs and assumptions about others, we are more likely to become tolerant and understanding. 

As humans, we tend to view things through our own limited lenses. However, we can see things from a different perspective when we think critically.

This type of thinking and communication can help build strong relationships and resolve conflicts. Critical thinking can help us build more fulfilling relationships.

Critical thinking vs strategic thinking

A critical thinker is able to think clearly and rationally while understanding logical connections between ideas. They can evaluate arguments and data and make informed decisions. On the other hand, strategic thinking is the ability to see the big picture and understand how the pieces fit together. 

When you draw inferences from information, break down facts and ideas based on their merits, or analyze trends over time, that’s strategic thinking. In order to be successful, businesses need both critical and strategic thinkers. 

While critical thinkers provide detailed analysis to enable sound decisions, strategic thinkers help identify long-term opportunities and challenges. These two types of thinking can be combined to make better decisions that lead to long-term success.

Final thoughts

You can’t overemphasize the importance of critical thinking. It is vital that we develop critical thinking in the modern world since it is absolutely essential to both our personal and career growth. It helps us stop seeing people in conflict as adversaries and work together.

Making successful decisions requires critical thinking skills. It entails analyzing information objectively and logically, considering all evidence, and coming to an unbiased conclusion. 

It also helps build one’s character and promotes creativity. It increases mental capacity and promotes smart approaches. 

In addition, breaking down a bigger problem into smaller pieces and understanding how the pieces fit together require critical thinking. The knowledge economy is all about finding solutions to problems. That’s why businesses need critical thinkers to find creative solutions.

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How Using Critical Thinking Can Lead to Professional Growth

How Using Critical Thinking Can Lead to Professional Growth | Career | Emeritus

Critical thinking is one of the skills that can be used in nearly every profession, at every level. Especially in today’s dynamic and competitive job market, critical thinking skills are something that recruiters look for when they evaluate new candidates. But have you ever wondered exactly what is critical thinking? Continue reading this blog to find out about how critical thinking is defined, why it’s important in the workplace and how it impacts professionals at various points in their careers. Delve into how critical thinking skills can have a significant impact on professional life. 

What is Critical Thinking?

Let us start by understanding what is critical thinking. Primarily, it is a process that involves interpreting information in a logical and systematic manner. Using critical thinking, in other words, allows individuals to engage with ideas, consider different perspectives, and arrive at reasonable conclusions.

At its core, critical thinking involves several key elements. Firstly, it requires the capacity to identify the issue and clearly understand the context. Moreover, critical thinkers actively seek out and evaluate information from various sources. Additionally, they assess its credibility, relevance, and reliability. Essentially, they strive to recognize biases and logical inconsistencies in arguments.

Furthermore, critical thinking involves the skills of logical reasoning, constructing sound arguments, and identifying flaws in the reasoning of others. It also entails generating creative solutions to problems by thinking outside the box. Additionally, critical thinkers are open-minded and receptive to new ideas. At the same time, they are cautious and avoid hasty judgments.

In today’s world, critical thinking empowers individuals to navigate the vast amount of information available, discern fact from fiction, and make informed decisions. It is a skill that can be cultivated and honed through practice and reflection and can significantly benefit one’s professional life.

ALSO READ: What is Reskilling? Why is it so Important for Today’s Workforce?

What is Critical Thinking’s Important in the Workplace?

What is Critical Thinking

In a fast-paced and dynamic business environment, critical thinking skills empower individuals to assess complex situations, identify potential risks and opportunities, and develop effective strategies. Employers value critical thinkers who can evaluate information objectively, challenge assumptions, and propose innovative solutions. By employing critical thinking, employees can approach challenges with a logical and systematic mindset, leading to more efficient problem-solving and improved decision-making. Critical thinkers are also adept at gathering and evaluating relevant data, which enhances their ability to make informed judgments.

What’s more, critical thinking promotes effective communication and collaboration in the workplace. Employees who can articulate their ideas clearly, listen actively, and engage in respectful debate are more likely to contribute to productive discussions and generate innovative solutions. Outcomes like these, therefore, make critical thinking a vital workplace skill.

What are Some Strategies to Improve Critical Thinking Skills?

Mastering critical thinking is essential for aspiring leaders as it empowers them to navigate complex workplace situations, make informed decisions, and inspire their teams. To become proficient critical thinkers, aspiring leaders should cultivate curiosity and an inquisitive mindset. Actively seeking diverse perspectives and challenging assumptions are key practices. Here are some ways in which one can ensure critical thinking skills are applied at the workplace.

Develop Strong Analytical Skills

Analytical skills are crucial in mastering critical thinking. Aspiring leaders should enhance their  ability to gather and evaluate relevant information, ask probing questions, and rely on credible sources. Self-reflection also plays a significant role in mastering critical thinking. Aspiring leaders should be mindful of their own biases and actively work to mitigate their impact.

Create Open Feedback Channels

Encouraging constructive feedback is another crucial aspect. Diverse viewpoints and dissenting opinions foster robust critical thinking within teams. It also leads to better decision-making outcomes by considering multiple perspectives and minimizing biases. 

Question Assumptions

Challenge assumptions by asking thought-provoking questions. Rather than accepting information or ideas at face value, take the initiative to dig deeper and uncover the underlying beliefs or biases that may be influencing your thinking. Moreover, it is important to approach the process with an open and curious mindset. Lastly, be willing to entertain different viewpoints and explore contradictory evidence.

Enhance Decision-Making Skills

Improving decision-making abilities may seem challenging, but it is simple, if one focuses on considering the potential consequences of different options. Firstly, start by weighing the pros and cons of each option. Then spend some time evaluating the risks and benefits associated with each choice. Only when one has considered all the consequences should a choice be made. Building up such a mindset will improve decision-making abilities over time. 

How Can Critical Thinking Help a Mid-Level Professional Progress in Their Career?

Critical thinking is vital for mid-level professionals. This is because these are professionals who fall between the public-facing employees and top management. They are representatives of their teams and need to be able to make quick decisions for them when needed. This makes it an essential skill for professional growth and success.

Efficient Resolution of Complex Challenges

Enhanced critical thinking abilities empower mid-level professionals to efficiently tackle complex challenges. By analyzing problems from multiple angles and considering various perspectives, they can identify innovative solutions and overcome obstacles effectively.

More Effective Choices

Critical thinking enables mid-level professionals to make more informed and effective choices. By evaluating information, considering different viewpoints, and weighing potential outcomes, they can make decisions that align with organizational goals. This, in turn, ensures positive impacts and improved results.

Stronger Relationships and Teamwork

Through effective communication and collaboration, mid-level professionals with strong critical thinking skills foster stronger relationships and teamwork. By actively listening, considering diverse viewpoints, and engaging in constructive dialogue, they build trust, understanding, and synergy within teams.

Adaptability and Learning Agility

Critical thinking fosters adaptability and learning agility in mid-level professionals. They embrace change, challenge assumptions, and seek growth opportunities. This mindset allows them to navigate dynamic work environments, continuously learn new skills, and adapt to evolving challenges and technologies.

Recognition and Advancement

Mid-level professionals who demonstrate strong critical thinking skills gain recognition and advancement opportunities. Their ability to analyze complex situations, make sound decisions, and drive positive outcomes positions them as valuable assets to the organization, leading to career growth and advancement.

How Can Critical Thinking Benefit Decision-Making and Problem-Solving?

 What is Critical Thinking

ALSO READ: Here’s an Insight Into Leadership and its Different Type s

How to Evaluate and Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Ask probing questions.

Develop the habit of asking insightful and thought-provoking questions. This helps one delve deeper into complex issues, uncover underlying assumptions, and uncover potential flaws in reasoning.

Develop Research Skills

Enhance research skills to gather reliable information and evidence. Learn to distinguish between credible sources and misinformation. This allows one to make well-informed decisions based on accurate and relevant data. 

Practice Logical Reasoning

Strengthen logical reasoning skills by examining the structure of arguments and identifying fallacies or inconsistencies. Practice constructing well-reasoned arguments by considering counterarguments and supporting claims with evidence.

Foster Active Listening

Develop active listening skills to understand other viewpoints and ideas. This helps one gain a comprehensive understanding of complex situations. Moreover, it promotes a collaborative environment.

Seek Feedback

Seek feedback from mentors, peers, or supervisors on your abilities. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement and help professionals refine their skills

Now that we understand critical thinking and its significance, it is vital to hone this skill. The best way to do so is to find the right platform and upskill. This is where a course from Emeritus will be particularly valuable. Taught by several seasoned industry experts, Emeritus courses are offered in collaboration with top-tier global universities. This makes it an ideal platform to help professionals build the necessary skills for advancing their careers.

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What Are Critical Thinking Skills and Why Are They Important?

Learn what critical thinking skills are, why they’re important, and how to develop and apply them in your workplace and everyday life.

[Featured Image]:  Project Manager, approaching  and analyzing the latest project with a team member,

We often use critical thinking skills without even realizing it. When you make a decision, such as which cereal to eat for breakfast, you're using critical thinking to determine the best option for you that day.

Critical thinking is like a muscle that can be exercised and built over time. It is a skill that can help propel your career to new heights. You'll be able to solve workplace issues, use trial and error to troubleshoot ideas, and more.

We'll take you through what it is and some examples so you can begin your journey in mastering this skill.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to interpret, evaluate, and analyze facts and information that are available, to form a judgment or decide if something is right or wrong.

More than just being curious about the world around you, critical thinkers make connections between logical ideas to see the bigger picture. Building your critical thinking skills means being able to advocate your ideas and opinions, present them in a logical fashion, and make decisions for improvement.

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Why is critical thinking important?

Critical thinking is useful in many areas of your life, including your career. It makes you a well-rounded individual, one who has looked at all of their options and possible solutions before making a choice.

According to the University of the People in California, having critical thinking skills is important because they are [ 1 ]:

Crucial for the economy

Essential for improving language and presentation skills

Very helpful in promoting creativity

Important for self-reflection

The basis of science and democracy 

Critical thinking skills are used every day in a myriad of ways and can be applied to situations such as a CEO approaching a group project or a nurse deciding in which order to treat their patients.

Examples of common critical thinking skills

Critical thinking skills differ from individual to individual and are utilized in various ways. Examples of common critical thinking skills include:

Identification of biases: Identifying biases means knowing there are certain people or things that may have an unfair prejudice or influence on the situation at hand. Pointing out these biases helps to remove them from contention when it comes to solving the problem and allows you to see things from a different perspective.

Research: Researching details and facts allows you to be prepared when presenting your information to people. You’ll know exactly what you’re talking about due to the time you’ve spent with the subject material, and you’ll be well-spoken and know what questions to ask to gain more knowledge. When researching, always use credible sources and factual information.

Open-mindedness: Being open-minded when having a conversation or participating in a group activity is crucial to success. Dismissing someone else’s ideas before you’ve heard them will inhibit you from progressing to a solution, and will often create animosity. If you truly want to solve a problem, you need to be willing to hear everyone’s opinions and ideas if you want them to hear yours.

Analysis: Analyzing your research will lead to you having a better understanding of the things you’ve heard and read. As a true critical thinker, you’ll want to seek out the truth and get to the source of issues. It’s important to avoid taking things at face value and always dig deeper.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving is perhaps the most important skill that critical thinkers can possess. The ability to solve issues and bounce back from conflict is what helps you succeed, be a leader, and effect change. One way to properly solve problems is to first recognize there’s a problem that needs solving. By determining the issue at hand, you can then analyze it and come up with several potential solutions.

How to develop critical thinking skills

You can develop critical thinking skills every day if you approach problems in a logical manner. Here are a few ways you can start your path to improvement:

1. Ask questions.

Be inquisitive about everything. Maintain a neutral perspective and develop a natural curiosity, so you can ask questions that develop your understanding of the situation or task at hand. The more details, facts, and information you have, the better informed you are to make decisions.

2. Practice active listening.

Utilize active listening techniques, which are founded in empathy, to really listen to what the other person is saying. Critical thinking, in part, is the cognitive process of reading the situation: the words coming out of their mouth, their body language, their reactions to your own words. Then, you might paraphrase to clarify what they're saying, so both of you agree you're on the same page.

3. Develop your logic and reasoning.

This is perhaps a more abstract task that requires practice and long-term development. However, think of a schoolteacher assessing the classroom to determine how to energize the lesson. There's options such as playing a game, watching a video, or challenging the students with a reward system. Using logic, you might decide that the reward system will take up too much time and is not an immediate fix. A video is not exactly relevant at this time. So, the teacher decides to play a simple word association game.

Scenarios like this happen every day, so next time, you can be more aware of what will work and what won't. Over time, developing your logic and reasoning will strengthen your critical thinking skills.

Learn tips and tricks on how to become a better critical thinker and problem solver through online courses from notable educational institutions on Coursera. Start with Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking from Duke University or Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age from the University of Michigan.

Article sources

University of the People, “ Why is Critical Thinking Important?: A Survival Guide , https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-is-critical-thinking-important/.” Accessed May 18, 2023.

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Module 1: Success Skills

Critical thinking, introduction, learning objectives.

  • define critical thinking
  • identify the role that logic plays in critical thinking
  • apply critical thinking skills to problem-solving scenarios
  • apply critical thinking skills to evaluation of information

Woman lying on her back outdoors, in a reflective posture

Consider these thoughts about the critical thinking process, and how it applies not just to our school lives but also our personal and professional lives.

“Thinking Critically and Creatively”

Critical thinking skills are perhaps the most fundamental skills involved in making judgments and solving problems. You use them every day, and you can continue improving them.

The ability to think critically about a matter—to analyze a question, situation, or problem down to its most basic parts—is what helps us evaluate the accuracy and truthfulness of statements, claims, and information we read and hear. It is the sharp knife that, when honed, separates fact from fiction, honesty from lies, and the accurate from the misleading. We all use this skill to one degree or another almost every day. For example, we use critical thinking every day as we consider the latest consumer products and why one particular product is the best among its peers. Is it a quality product because a celebrity endorses it? Because a lot of other people may have used it? Because it is made by one company versus another? Or perhaps because it is made in one country or another? These are questions representative of critical thinking.

The academic setting demands more of us in terms of critical thinking than everyday life. It demands that we evaluate information and analyze myriad issues. It is the environment where our critical thinking skills can be the difference between success and failure. In this environment we must consider information in an analytical, critical manner. We must ask questions—What is the source of this information? Is this source an expert one and what makes it so? Are there multiple perspectives to consider on an issue? Do multiple sources agree or disagree on an issue? Does quality research substantiate information or opinion? Do I have any personal biases that may affect my consideration of this information?

It is only through purposeful, frequent, intentional questioning such as this that we can sharpen our critical thinking skills and improve as students, learners and researchers.

—Dr. Andrew Robert Baker,  Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom

Defining Critical Thinking

Thinking comes naturally. You don’t have to make it happen—it just does. But you can make it happen in different ways. For example, you can think positively or negatively. You can think with “heart” and you can think with rational judgment. You can also think strategically and analytically, and mathematically and scientifically. These are a few of multiple ways in which the mind can process thought.

What are some forms of thinking you use? When do you use them, and why?

As a college student, you are tasked with engaging and expanding your thinking skills. One of the most important of these skills is critical thinking. Critical thinking is important because it relates to nearly all tasks, situations, topics, careers, environments, challenges, and opportunities. It’s not restricted to a particular subject area.

Handwritten poster. Guidelines for Critical Thinking when…talking/ reading/ blogging/ writing/ living. 4: justify your answers with text evidence (…because…) and examples from your life/world; agree and disagree with others and authors; ask questions of others and authors; complete sentences, correct punctuation/ capitols. 3: agree and disagree with others and authors; justify your opinions, tell why you agree and disagree; speak and write in complete sentences. 2: answers questions but not justify them; agree and disagree but you can’t tell why; incomplete sentences, incorrect punctuation. 1: does not contribute to the conversation; does not share your thinking; does not agree or disagree with others. Justify: to defend your thinking by showing and telling with examples and evidence.

Critical thinking is clear, reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It means asking probing questions like, “How do we know?” or “Is this true in every case or just in this instance?” It involves being skeptical and challenging assumptions, rather than simply memorizing facts or blindly accepting what you hear or read.

Imagine, for example, that you’re reading a history textbook. You wonder who wrote it and why, because you detect certain assumptions in the writing. You find that the author has a limited scope of research focused only on a particular group within a population. In this case, your critical thinking reveals that there are “other sides to the story.”

Who are critical thinkers, and what characteristics do they have in common? Critical thinkers are usually curious and reflective people. They like to explore and probe new areas and seek knowledge, clarification, and new solutions. They ask pertinent questions, evaluate statements and arguments, and they distinguish between facts and opinion. They are also willing to examine their own beliefs, possessing a manner of humility that allows them to admit lack of knowledge or understanding when needed. They are open to changing their mind. Perhaps most of all, they actively enjoy learning, and seeking new knowledge is a lifelong pursuit.

This may well be you!

No matter where you are on the road to being a critical thinker, you can always more fully develop your skills. Doing so will help you develop more balanced arguments, express yourself clearly, read critically, and absorb important information efficiently. Critical thinking skills will help you in any profession or any circumstance of life, from science to art to business to teaching.

Critical Thinking in Action

The following video, from Lawrence Bland, presents the major concepts and benefits of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking and Logic

Critical thinking is fundamentally a process of questioning information and data. You may question the information you read in a textbook, or you may question what a politician or a professor or a classmate says. You can also question a commonly-held belief or a new idea. With critical thinking, anything and everything is subject to question and examination.

Logic’s Relationship to Critical Thinking

The word logic comes from the Ancient Greek logike , referring to the science or art of reasoning. Using logic, a person evaluates arguments and strives to distinguish between good and bad reasoning, or between truth and falsehood. Using logic, you can evaluate ideas or claims people make, make good decisions, and form sound beliefs about the world. [1]

Questions of Logic in Critical Thinking

Let’s use a simple example of applying logic to a critical-thinking situation. In this hypothetical scenario, a man has a PhD in political science, and he works as a professor at a local college. His wife works at the college, too. They have three young children in the local school system, and their family is well known in the community.

The man is now running for political office. Are his credentials and experience sufficient for entering public office? Will he be effective in the political office? Some voters might believe that his personal life and current job, on the surface, suggest he will do well in the position, and they will vote for him.

In truth, the characteristics described don’t guarantee that the man will do a good job. The information is somewhat irrelevant. What else might you want to know? How about whether the man had already held a political office and done a good job? In this case, we want to ask, How much information is adequate in order to make a decision based on logic instead of assumptions?

The following questions, presented in Figure 1, below, are ones you may apply to formulating a logical, reasoned perspective in the above scenario or any other situation:

  • What’s happening? Gather the basic information and begin to think of questions.
  • Why is it important? Ask yourself why it’s significant and whether or not you agree.
  • What don’t I see? Is there anything important missing?
  • How do I know? Ask yourself where the information came from and how it was constructed.
  • Who is saying it? What’s the position of the speaker and what is influencing them?
  • What else? What if? What other ideas exist and are there other possibilities?

Infographic titled "Questions a Critical Thinker Asks." From the top, text reads: What's Happening? Gather the basic information and begin to think of questions (image of two stick figures talking to each other). Why is it Important? Ask yourself why it's significant and whether or not you agree. (Image of bearded stick figure sitting on a rock.) What Don't I See? Is there anything important missing? (Image of stick figure wearing a blindfold, whistling, walking away from a sign labeled Answers.) How Do I Know? Ask yourself where the information came from and how it was constructed. (Image of stick figure in a lab coat, glasses, holding a beaker.) Who is Saying It? What's the position of the speaker and what is influencing them? (Image of stick figure reading a newspaper.) What Else? What If? What other ideas exist and are there other possibilities? (Stick figure version of Albert Einstein with a thought bubble saying "If only time were relative...".

Problem-Solving With Critical Thinking

For most people, a typical day is filled with critical thinking and problem-solving challenges. In fact, critical thinking and problem-solving go hand-in-hand. They both refer to using knowledge, facts, and data to solve problems effectively. But with problem-solving, you are specifically identifying, selecting, and defending your solution. Below are some examples of using critical thinking to problem-solve:

  • Your roommate was upset and said some unkind words to you, which put a crimp in your relationship. You try to see through the angry behaviors to determine how you might best support your roommate and help bring your relationship back to a comfortable spot.

Young man in black jacket looking deep in thought, in foreground of busy street scene

  • Your final art class project challenges you to conceptualize form in new ways. On the last day of class when students present their projects, you describe the techniques you used to fulfill the assignment. You explain why and how you selected that approach.
  • Your math teacher sees that the class is not quite grasping a concept. She uses clever questioning to dispel anxiety and guide you to new understanding of the concept.
  • You have a job interview for a position that you feel you are only partially qualified for, although you really want the job and you are excited about the prospects. You analyze how you will explain your skills and experiences in a way to show that you are a good match for the prospective employer.
  • You are doing well in college, and most of your college and living expenses are covered. But there are some gaps between what you want and what you feel you can afford. You analyze your income, savings, and budget to better calculate what you will need to stay in college and maintain your desired level of spending.

Problem-Solving Action Checklist

Problem-solving can be an efficient and rewarding process, especially if you are organized and mindful of critical steps and strategies. Remember, too, to assume the attributes of a good critical thinker. If you are curious, reflective, knowledge-seeking, open to change, probing, organized, and ethical, your challenge or problem will be less of a hurdle, and you’ll be in a good position to find intelligent solutions.

Evaluating Information With Critical Thinking

Evaluating information can be one of the most complex tasks you will be faced with in college. But if you utilize the following four strategies, you will be well on your way to success:

  • Read for understanding by using text coding
  • Examine arguments
  • Clarify thinking

Photo of a group of students standing around a poster on the wall, where they're adding post-it notes with handwriting on them

1. Read for Understanding Using Text Coding

When you read and take notes, use the text coding strategy . Text coding is a way of tracking your thinking while reading. It entails marking the text and recording what you are thinking either in the margins or perhaps on Post-it notes. As you make connections and ask questions in response to what you read,  you monitor your comprehension and enhance your long-term understanding of the material.

With text coding, mark important arguments and key facts. Indicate where you agree and disagree or have further questions. You don’t necessarily need to read every word, but make sure you understand the concepts or the intentions behind what is written. Feel free to develop your own shorthand style when reading or taking notes. The following are a few options to consider using while coding text.

See more text coding from PBWorks and Collaborative for Teaching and Learning .

2. Examine Arguments

When you examine arguments or claims that an author, speaker, or other source is making, your goal is to identify and examine the hard facts. You can use the spectrum of authority strategy for this purpose. The spectrum of authority strategy assists you in identifying the “hot” end of an argument—feelings, beliefs, cultural influences, and societal influences—and the “cold” end of an argument—scientific influences. The following video explains this strategy.

3. Clarify Thinking

When you use critical thinking to evaluate information, you need to clarify your thinking to yourself and likely to others. Doing this well is mainly a process of asking and answering probing questions, such as the logic questions discussed earlier. Design your questions to fit your needs, but be sure to cover adequate ground. What is the purpose? What question are we trying to answer? What point of view is being expressed? What assumptions are we or others making? What are the facts and data we know, and how do we know them? What are the concepts we’re working with? What are the conclusions, and do they make sense? What are the implications?

4. Cultivate “Habits of Mind”

“Habits of mind” are the personal commitments, values, and standards you have about the principle of good thinking. Consider your intellectual commitments, values, and standards. Do you approach problems with an open mind, a respect for truth, and an inquiring attitude? Some good habits to have when thinking critically are being receptive to having your opinions changed, having respect for others, being independent and not accepting something is true until you’ve had the time to examine the available evidence, being fair-minded, having respect for a reason, having an inquiring mind, not making assumptions, and always, especially, questioning your own conclusions—in other words, developing an intellectual work ethic. Try to work these qualities into your daily life.

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  • "Student Success-Thinking Critically In Class and Online."  Critical Thinking Gateway . St Petersburg College, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2016. ↵
  • Outcome: Critical Thinking. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
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  • Foundations of Academic Success. Authored by : Thomas C. Priester, editor. Provided by : Open SUNY Textbooks. Located at : http://textbooks.opensuny.org/foundations-of-academic-success/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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