Importance of Critical Success Factors
by Neil Kokemuller
Published on 26 Sep 2017
Critical success factors (CSFs) are core elements of a business' operations that it views as most important to its long-term success. As part of strategic development and corporate planning, companies often develop a list of CSFs that corresponds with their mission statement and primary objectives.
In his July 2004 Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute article, "The Critical Success Factor Method: Establishing a Foundation for Enterprise Security Management," Richard A. Caralli explained the importance of CSFs in developing a broad company vision that includes the business strategies, goals and activities of an organization. Once a company has a mission, it sets objectives, and then it needs to identify the most critical factors that will contribute to the success or failure of its mission and goals.
Mission to Goals
A mission statement is a company's statement of purpose. Typically going beyond making money, a company's mission gives its primary motivation for conducting business. With a purpose, companies establish short- and long-term objectives. Common goals include increasing market share, improving customer satisfaction or improving production efficiency. For each goal, a company typically sets a numerical standard for achievement, for instance, a growth of 5 percent market share within 12 months.
Once goals are established in each core business area, the next step in strategic development and planning is to consider CSFs that align with each goal. In considering a goal of increasing local market share, the Mind Tools website suggests "Increase competitiveness versus other local stores to attract new customers" as a potential critical success factor. A goal of improving profits in a foreign market might have a CSF of establishing more strategic alliances with local suppliers.
Types of CSFs
To fully consider the best CSFs to align with your strategic goals, you should explore four common types of success factors noted by John Rockart, who is widely credited with helping the concept of CSF evolve in business in the early 1980s. Industry, environmental, strategic and temporal are the four success factor areas. Industry factors relate to specific traits within your industry. Environmental factors relate to external factors, such as the economy, competition and technology. Strategic factors are directly tied to your corporate strategy. Temporal factors relate to internal factors, such as success barriers, company challenges and internal business influences.
Critical Thinking in Reading and Composition
Glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms.
- An Introduction to Punctuation
- Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
- M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
- B.A., English, State University of New York
Critical thinking is the process of independently analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information as a guide to behavior and beliefs.
The American Philosophical Association has defined critical thinking as "the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment. The process gives reasoned consideration to evidence , contexts , conceptualizations, methods, and criteria" (1990). Critical thinking is sometimes broadly defined as "thinking about thinking."
Critical thinking skills include the ability to interpret, verify, and reason, all of which involve applying the principles of logic . The process of using critical thinking to guide writing is called critical writing .
- " Critical Thinking is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, Critical Thinking is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one’s personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, Critical Thinking is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit." (American Philosophical Association, "Consensus Statement Regarding Critical Thinking," 1990)
- Thought and Language "In order to understand reasoning [...], it is necessary to pay careful attention to the relationship between thought and language . The relationship seems to be straightforward: thought is expressed in and through language. But this claim, while true, is an oversimplification. People often fail to say what they mean. Everyone has had the experience of having their \ misunderstood by others. And we all use words not merely to express our thoughts but also to shape them. Developing our critical thinking skills, therefore, requires an understanding of the ways in which words can (and often fail to) express our thoughts." (William Hughes and Jonathan Lavery, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills , 4th ed. Broadview, 2004)
- Dispositions That Foster or Impede Critical thinking "Dispositions that foster critical thinking include [a] facility in perceiving irony , ambiguity , and multiplicity of meanings or points of view; the development of open-mindedness, autonomous thought, and reciprocity (Piaget's term for the ability to empathize with other individuals, social groups, nationalities, ideologies, etc.). Dispositions that act as impediments to critical thinking include defense mechanisms (such as absolutism or primary certitude, denial, projection), culturally conditioned assumptions, authoritarianism, egocentrism, and ethnocentrism, rationalization, compartmentalization, stereotyping and prejudice." (Donald Lazere, "Invention, Critical Thinking, and the Analysis of Political Rhetoric." Perspectives on Rhetorical Invention , ed. by Janet M. Atwill and Janice M. Lauer. University of Tennessee Press, 2002)
- Critical Thinking and Composing - "[T]he most intensive and demanding tool for eliciting sustained critical thought is a well-designed writing assignment on a subject matter problem. The underlying premise is that writing is closely linked with thinking and that in presenting students with significant problems to write about—and in creating an environment that demands their best writing—we can promote their general cognitive and intellectual growth. When we make students struggle with their writing, we are making them struggle with thought itself. Emphasizing writing and critical thinking , therefore, generally increases the academic rigor of a course. Often the struggle of writing, linked as it is to the struggle of thinking and to the growth of a person's intellectual powers, awakens students to the real nature of learning." (John C. Bean, Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom , 2nd ed. Wiley, 2011) - "Finding a fresh approach to a writing assignment means that you must see the subject without the blinders of preconception. When people expect to see a thing in a certain way, it usually appears that way, whether or not that is its true image. Similarly, thinking based on prefabricated ideas produces writing that says nothing new, that offers nothing important to the reader. As a writer, you have a responsibility to go beyond the expected views and present your subject so that the reader sees it with fresh eyes. . . . [C]ritical thinking is a fairly systematic method of defining a problem and synthesizing knowledge about it, thereby creating the perspective you need to develop new ideas. . . . " Classical rhetoricians used a series of three questions to help focus an argument . Today these questions can still help writers understand the topic about which they are writing. An sit? (Is the problem a fact?); Quid sit (What is the definition of the problem?); and Quale sit? (What kind of problem is it?). By asking these questions, writers see their subject from many new angles before they begin to narrow the focus to one particular aspect." (Kristin R. Woolever, About Writing: A Rhetoric for Advanced Writers . Wadsworth, 1991)
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to Force
Appeal to Humor
Appeal to Ignorance
Appeal to the People
Begging the Question
Dicto Simpliciter , Equivocation
Poisoning the Well
Stacking the Deck
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B. Direction: Explain the importance of critical thinking in your personal and academic life. Personal __________________________________________________________________. Academic __________________________________________________________________.
Critical Thinking is important in life. It helps you to think creatively – 'outside the box'. It keeps you from becoming narrow. ... Rather than relying on teachers and classroom time for instruction and guidance, students with critical thinking skills become more independent, self-directed learners.
Critical thinking is not limited to a specific subject but it is the capacity of a student to think in a more rational and clear way. Critical thinking is important for students as it gives the ability to think in the right way and solve problems in a more efficient and methodical way.
New questions in English
Tips for Online Students , Tips for Students
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Important For Self-Reflection
Without critical thinking, how can we really live a meaningful life? We need this skill to self-reflect and justify our ways of life and opinions. Critical thinking provides us with the tools to evaluate ourselves in the way that we need to.
Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels
6. 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?
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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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What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. Critical thinking has been the subject of much debate and thought since the time of early Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates and has continued to be a subject of discussion into the modern age, for example the ability to recognise fake news .
Critical thinking might be described as the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.
In essence, critical thinking requires you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information.
Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value. They will always seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to finding that they do not.
Critical thinkers will identify, analyse and solve problems systematically rather than by intuition or instinct.
Someone with critical thinking skills can:
Understand the links between ideas.
Determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas.
Recognise, build and appraise arguments.
Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning.
Approach problems in a consistent and systematic way.
Reflect on the justification of their own assumptions, beliefs and values.
Critical thinking is thinking about things in certain ways so as to arrive at the best possible solution in the circumstances that the thinker is aware of. In more everyday language, it is a way of thinking about whatever is presently occupying your mind so that you come to the best possible conclusion.
Critical Thinking is:
A way of thinking about particular things at a particular time; it is not the accumulation of facts and knowledge or something that you can learn once and then use in that form forever, such as the nine times table you learn and use in school.
The Skills We Need for Critical Thinking
The skills that we need in order to be able to think critically are varied and include observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving, and decision making.
Specifically we need to be able to:
Think about a topic or issue in an objective and critical way.
Identify the different arguments there are in relation to a particular issue.
Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is.
Recognise any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
Notice what implications there might be behind a statement or argument.
Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that we wish to make.
The Critical Thinking Process
You should be aware that none of us think critically all the time.
Sometimes we think in almost any way but critically, for example when our self-control is affected by anger, grief or joy or when we are feeling just plain ‘bloody minded’.
On the other hand, the good news is that, since our critical thinking ability varies according to our current mindset, most of the time we can learn to improve our critical thinking ability by developing certain routine activities and applying them to all problems that present themselves.
Once you understand the theory of critical thinking, improving your critical thinking skills takes persistence and practice.
Try this simple exercise to help you to start thinking critically.
Think of something that someone has recently told you. Then ask yourself the following questions:
Who said it?
Someone you know? Someone in a position of authority or power? Does it matter who told you this?
What did they say?
Did they give facts or opinions? Did they provide all the facts? Did they leave anything out?
Where did they say it?
Was it in public or in private? Did other people have a chance to respond an provide an alternative account?
When did they say it?
Was it before, during or after an important event? Is timing important?
Why did they say it?
Did they explain the reasoning behind their opinion? Were they trying to make someone look good or bad?
How did they say it?
Were they happy or sad, angry or indifferent? Did they write it or say it? Could you understand what was said?
What are you Aiming to Achieve?
One of the most important aspects of critical thinking is to decide what you are aiming to achieve and then make a decision based on a range of possibilities.
Once you have clarified that aim for yourself you should use it as the starting point in all future situations requiring thought and, possibly, further decision making. Where needed, make your workmates, family or those around you aware of your intention to pursue this goal. You must then discipline yourself to keep on track until changing circumstances mean you have to revisit the start of the decision making process.
However, there are things that get in the way of simple decision making. We all carry with us a range of likes and dislikes, learnt behaviours and personal preferences developed throughout our lives; they are the hallmarks of being human. A major contribution to ensuring we think critically is to be aware of these personal characteristics, preferences and biases and make allowance for them when considering possible next steps, whether they are at the pre-action consideration stage or as part of a rethink caused by unexpected or unforeseen impediments to continued progress.
The more clearly we are aware of ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, the more likely our critical thinking will be productive.
The Benefit of Foresight
Perhaps the most important element of thinking critically is foresight.
Almost all decisions we make and implement don’t prove disastrous if we find reasons to abandon them. However, our decision making will be infinitely better and more likely to lead to success if, when we reach a tentative conclusion, we pause and consider the impact on the people and activities around us.
The elements needing consideration are generally numerous and varied. In many cases, consideration of one element from a different perspective will reveal potential dangers in pursuing our decision.
For instance, moving a business activity to a new location may improve potential output considerably but it may also lead to the loss of skilled workers if the distance moved is too great. Which of these is the more important consideration? Is there some way of lessening the conflict?
These are the sort of problems that may arise from incomplete critical thinking, a demonstration perhaps of the critical importance of good critical thinking.
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Critical thinking is aimed at achieving the best possible outcomes in any situation. In order to achieve this it must involve gathering and evaluating information from as many different sources possible.
Critical thinking requires a clear, often uncomfortable, assessment of your personal strengths, weaknesses and preferences and their possible impact on decisions you may make.
Critical thinking requires the development and use of foresight as far as this is possible. As Doris Day sang, “the future’s not ours to see”.
Implementing the decisions made arising from critical thinking must take into account an assessment of possible outcomes and ways of avoiding potentially negative outcomes, or at least lessening their impact.
- Critical thinking involves reviewing the results of the application of decisions made and implementing change where possible.
It might be thought that we are overextending our demands on critical thinking in expecting that it can help to construct focused meaning rather than examining the information given and the knowledge we have acquired to see if we can, if necessary, construct a meaning that will be acceptable and useful.
After all, almost no information we have available to us, either externally or internally, carries any guarantee of its life or appropriateness. Neat step-by-step instructions may provide some sort of trellis on which our basic understanding of critical thinking can blossom but it doesn’t and cannot provide any assurance of certainty, utility or longevity.
Continue to: Critical Thinking and Fake News Critical Reading
See also: Analytical Skills Understanding and Addressing Conspiracy Theories Introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
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
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.
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. 
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?
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.
- 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
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.
- "logic." Wordnik . n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2016 . ↵
- "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
- Self Check: Critical Thinking. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- 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
- Image of woman thinking. Authored by : Moyan Brenn. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/8YV4K5 . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Critical Thinking. Provided by : Critical and Creative Thinking Program. Located at : http://cct.wikispaces.umb.edu/Critical+Thinking . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Critical Thinking Skills. Authored by : Linda Bruce. Provided by : Lumen Learning. Project : https://courses.lumenlearning.com/lumencollegesuccess/chapter/critical-thinking-skills/. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Image of critical thinking poster. Authored by : Melissa Robison. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/bwAzyD . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Thinking Critically. Authored by : UBC Learning Commons. Provided by : The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus. Located at : http://www.oercommons.org/courses/learning-toolkit-critical-thinking/view . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Critical Thinking 101: Spectrum of Authority. Authored by : UBC Leap. Located at : https://youtu.be/9G5xooMN2_c . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Image of students putting post-its on wall. Authored by : Hector Alejandro. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/7b2Ax2 . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Image of man thinking. Authored by : Chad Santos. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/phLKY . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Critical Thinking.wmv. Authored by : Lawrence Bland. Located at : https://youtu.be/WiSklIGUblo . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
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- Career Advice
Top 8 Critical Thinking Skills and Ways to Improve Them
As seen in:
Why is critical thinking essential? Firstly, that’s what almost every employer seeks.
Secondly, in the era of fake news, contrasting data, and so much information to process every day, critical thinking is the only way to make sense of this world. Good thing you came to the right place for everything you need to know about critical thinking skills!
This guide will show you:
- The best definition of critical thinking skills.
- How to use critical thinking skills step by step.
- A list of the most important critical thinking skills for the workplace and how to use them to get more job offers.
- Tools and ideas for improving your critical thinking skills fast.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .
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Want to learn more about listing all kinds of skills on a resume? See our guide with the ultimate list of Best Job Skills to Put on a Resume
If you are looking for specific skills sets for your resume, check:
- Analytical Skills Examples
- Problem Solving Skills Examples
- Creative Thinking Skills Examples
What Are Critical Thinking Skills and Why You Need Them?
Before we jump into defining critical thinking skills, let’s run a quick experiment.
We’ll try to find out if drinking coffee is good for you.
First, google “reasons not to drink coffee.”
Wow! Decreased anxiety ( source ), healthier teeth ( source ), weight loss ( source ), and a healthier heart ( source )!
Oh God! I’ll never touch a cup of coffee again! How about “reasons to drink coffee?”
Lower rates of depression ( source ), memory boost ( source ), longevity ( source ), and, wait for it, a healthier heart ( source ).
Oh well. I’ll never trust the Internet again.
The twist? These are not some random unsupported online claims. There’s legit, peer-reviewed research that backs up EVERY single one of the above findings.
So how do you reconcile these contradictory claims?
By thinking critically .
What does that even mean, though?
What Is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to think in an organized and rational manner in order to understand connections between ideas and/or facts. It helps you decide what to believe in. In other words, it’s “thinking about thinking”—identifying, analyzing, and then fixing flaws in the way we think.
How to Be a Critical Thinker?
To become one takes time, practice, and patience. But something you can start doing today to improve your critical thinking skills is apply the 7 steps of critical thinking to every problem you tackle—either at work or in your everyday life.
Plus, there are some critical thinking questions to help you out at each of the steps.
Steps of Critical Thinking
1. Identify the problem or question.
Be as precise as possible: the narrower the issue, the easier it is to find solutions or answers.
2. Gather data, opinions, and arguments.
Try to find several sources that present different ideas and points of view.
3. Analyze and evaluate the data.
Are the sources reliable? Are their conclusions data-backed or just argumentative? Is there enough information or data to support given hypotheses?
4. Identify assumptions.
Are you sure the sources you found are unbiased? Are you sure you weren’t biased in your search for answers?
5. Establish significance.
What piece of information is most important? Is the sample size sufficient? Are all opinions and arguments even relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve?
6. Make a decision/reach a conclusion.
Identify various conclusions that are possible and decide which (if any) of them are sufficiently supported. Weigh strengths and limitations of all possible options.
7. Present or communicate.
Once you’ve reached a conclusion, present it to all stakeholders.
Let’s go back to our coffee example and examine it critically, point-by-point.
1. The problem in question was: “is drinking coffee good for you?”
This approach is way to broad.
First of all, what does “good” even mean?
Secondly, we don’t know if we’re talking about long- or short-term effects of drinking coffee. It’s also possible that drinking coffee might benefit some aspects of your health while being detrimental to others.
So, let’s narrow down the problem to: “is drinking coffee good for your heart ?”
2. Listed above, there are only two pieces of research on the impact of drinking coffee on your heart.
The first one suggests that drinking coffee “could account for premature deaths in the region of 14% for coronary heart disease and 20% for stroke.”
According to the second one , “moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of the Coronary Artery Disease.”
We’ve made two other major mistakes in reasoning: first of all, two sources only are not enough.
Secondly, we haven’t taken into account that heart is a very complex organ: just like it is the case with the rest of our body, coffee might be good for some of its functions while bad for others.
3. Both articles cited have appeared in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals.
The first one has been based on literature review only; no original studies.
The second one, although conducted in a large (25.000 participants) sample of men and women, includes only Korean population—people whose hearts can be affected by other factors such as diet or climate.
4. While the two sources don’t appear biased, we were.
We based our initial Google searches on assumptions: “reasons not to drink coffee” (assuming: coffee is bad for our health) and “reasons to drink coffee” (assuming: coffee is worth drinking).
Google’s search algorithms made sure we found articles in line with our assumptions.
5. Considering all of the above, we can positively state that the information we gathered was not significant for solving the initially stated problem.
6. The only conclusion that can be reached is: according to the data we gathered, drinking coffee might or might not be good for our hearts, depending on many factors and variables we failed to take into account.
7. Even if the conclusion is “the question cannot be answered at this point,” it’s still worth presenting and communicating.
It’s good to know what the limitations of our knowledge on a given topic are.
The point is—
It’s really hard to be sure of something.
And critical thinking skills are necessary for us to accept the flaws in our reasoning and gaps in our knowledge, and take advantage of them!
Why Are Critical Thinking Skills Important?
When you think critically, you’ll constantly challenge what seems given. Say, in your job, even if something appears to be functioning properly, critical thinking will help you try and identify new, better solutions.
Critical thinking skills are the cornerstone of self-development and improvement. That’s why they’re so critical to have in today’s job market. Just think about this— A recent report by the AACU revealed that 93% of employers value critical thinking over the candidate’s undergraduate degree. So—
Let’s go through how you can showcase your critical thinking skills to boost your chances of landing a better job!
And if you want to learn more about other job-winning skills, we've got you covered! Check out our dedicated guides:
- Communication Skills for Your Resume & Workplace Success
- Management Skills You Must Have (Not Just For Managers)
- Hard Skills for Any Resume
- Computer Skills Employers Want
- Soft Skills vs Hard Skills for a Job: What Employers Look for
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Critical Thinking Skills List for Your Job Search
If you’re just looking for a list of the most important critical thinking skills, we’ve got you covered.
Top Critical Thinking Skills: Examples
Raw lists of skills are pretty useless.
Say, you’re applying for a job and the job description requires “critical thinking skills.” You can’t just dump random entries from the above list of examples on your resume.
You need to prove you can think critically by giving real-life examples of how you used your critical thinking skills.
How to Put Critical Thinking on a Resume: Examples
The best way to present and validate your critical thinking skills is to include examples of them in your past job description bullet points .
Like in these examples:
Critical Thinking Skills on a Resume—Nursing
- Evaluated and analyzed cases at hand to determine the priority of treatment.
- Clearly communicated and explained my rationales to doctors and other members of the nursing staff.
Critical Thinking Skills on a Resume—Engineering
- Identified 8 major hidden design defects with failed constructions.
Critical Thinking Skills on a Resume—Customer Service
- Interpreted the results of phone surveys to develop a new strategy for handling customer complaints.
You get the drill, right? Show don’t tell.
Your critical thinking skills might also be evaluated during job interviews. Again, interviewers will want to see specific examples of how you put your critical thinking to use.
Pro Tip : Most of the interview questions that test critical thinking are situational interview questions. You can learn all about how to handle them from this guide: Toughest Situational Interview Questions and Best Answers
Critical Thinking Interview Questions and Answers: Examples
1. Describe a situation where you challenged the way you and your colleagues did their jobs?
Our online ordering page let clients order incompatible components, causing heavy complaints. I asked if we could put a product check in place. The software engineer added warnings when two products weren’t compatible. Complaints went down by 35%.
2. Describe a situation where you saw a problem and took steps to fix it.
Our rechargeable forklifts had two different plugs. If you used the wrong one, you could wreck a $3,500 battery. I added zip-ties as cord-shorteners so you could only reach the right outlet. We haven’t lost a battery since.
3. Tell me about a time you had to persuade someone to see your side of things.
The owner was convinced our gift shop was a moneymaker. I analyzed our cash flow and found it was running at a 10% deficit. I built data visualizations that showed we could increase store revenue 40% through focusing on more popular products.
Don’t feel like a good enough critical thinker? Not to worry. There are easy ways to improve your critical thinking. You can actually start today!
Because you'll need them—
Employers test your critical thinking skills in many different ways, including on the job interview stage when they ask you lots of different questions.
But these questions actually repeat so you can prepare best answers in advance. How? Read our guide: Most Common Job Interview Questions—And Answers to Impress Your Recruiter
If you came across critical thinking as a job requirement, to land that job interview you also have to list it on your resume and include it in your cover letter, too. Try Zety resume builder and get your resume and matching cover letter ready in a flash . Here’s a resume and cover letter sample made using our builder:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills
To start working on your critical thinking skills, begin with applying these simple strategies:
1. Ask Simple Critical Thinking Questions
- What do I already know?
- How do I know that?
- What am I trying to prove?
- What are my motivations?
2. Oppose “Common Sense”
The problem with common sense is that it’s so… common .
“No way this business idea can ever be profitable.”
Oh really? Why exactly not? Ramit Sethi is making a killing selling a $300 online course on how to choose a good personal assistant. If that’s profitable, think what else can be.
3. Be Aware of Your Biases
The most common types of cognitive bias you need to avoid are:
- Confirmation Bias : we always subconsciously assume we’re right.
- Action Bias : we act too quickly before thinking something through.
- Association Bias : why did the rain dance always work? Because they’d dance until the rain came.
4. Read a Lot
This will not only help develop your critical thinking skills but actually most skills you can think of. To get a sound start on the theory and strategies behind critical thinking, check out:
- Critical Thinking for Dummies
- How to Think Critically: A Concise Guide
- Critical Thinking Skills: Effective Analysis, Argument and Reflection
- Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study
- What is Unconscious Bias? (+How to Avoid It in the Workplace)
Want to practice important skills even more? Check out these two guides: Situational Interview Questions [+20 Answers to Nail Your Interview] and Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers [STAR Method]
Here’s all you need to know about critical thinking skills in a nutshell:
- The key critical thinking skills are: analysis, interpretation, inference, explanation, self-regulation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving.
- In order to apply the basic principles of critical thinking, follow these steps: identify the problem, gather data, analyze and evaluate, identify assumptions, establish significance, make a decision, and communicate.
- To become a better critical thinker: ask simple questions, challenge common assumptions, be aware of your biases, and read more.
Do you have any questions about critical thinking skills? Maybe you’d like to share some tips on how to think more critically everyday? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
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The business model of education shortcuts.
Community Review for Brainly
Brainly, in essence, seems to be a platform that advocates for cheating, after all, its business model is based on people asking questions for homework and receiving ready answers and explanations. I'm talking about elementary level English and Math questions by youngsters, served with the answer on a plate.
Brainly is quite an emerging trend these days, which is to be expected in the middle of a global pandemic. Brainly is a Polish education technology company that provides a peer-to-peer learning platform for students to answer homework questions. Brainly has added gamification and user ranking elements to its platform to increase community engagement, and as of November 2020, it recorded 350 million monthly users. As things stand, Brainly is the most popular education platform in the world.
So, a platform to enhance e-learning during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders seems like a good idea. When done right, e-learning can be beneficial, and platforms like Coursera and Udemy have proven that. This is all great and very promising, but it's easy for things to go wrong whenever the web is involved. Now, what can go wrong in a platform where students ask questions, and you answer them?
Having a look at some reviews of Brainly out there, I came across people calling it a platform promoting cheating. Meanwhile, the platform itself claims that its own highly ranked users moderate it. That's fine; I 100% believe it. The obscure question here, is “what needs to be moderated?” Would any moderation be a violation of freedom of speech?
Because, you know, at the end of the day, cheating is expressing an opinion for others to listen to or read when you are not allowed to. A cheater is someone who reads or listens to a statement when they shouldn't. Could someone go as far as saying that any restrictions on cheating are a violation of the First Amendment? As crazy as this sounds, we heard crazier things in 2020. You know, in a “free speech” app.
I want to present the two questions I decided to answer on Brainly, which will give you an idea of this platform's business model.
I would not be celebrating if my future kids asked an elementary level question on a tutoring platform to receive a swift answer and an adequate explanation. I have no idea how you can regulate and moderate something like this in 2021. Brainly could have been a subreddit on Reddit. Instead, it is a freemium platform where you can pay for a subscription or use it with or without an adblocker. I'm sure a lot of people would say, “Why didn't I think of this first?”
There is nothing wrong with Brainly. At the same time, everything is wrong with Brainly. Brainly is a business that essentially promotes the path of least resistance. It doesn't matter if it is cheating or not. You can pretty much send critical thinking and “deep learning” (pun intended) down the drain for many people who are not ready to use such a platform correctly. It is only a good exercise for people who want to train their brain (by answering more challenging questions than the ones above), by helping people who – in many cases – don't want to think for themselves.
The emergence of Brainly is just another sign that we are not ready for the age of mass information flow. And by “we,” I mean entrepreneurs, businessmen, and everyone who tries to profit by providing 100% legal services but 0% ethical. However, if we try to spin this in the most nihilistic and vain way, what is the difference between not doing the homework at all and getting the answer in class compared to reading it online?
It boils down to this. Solving the puzzle is optional. Thinking about possible solutions is a requirement. Filling your brain with your thoughts instead of someone else's seems like a great idea. Otherwise, you will end up accusing others of manipulating you instead of holding yourself accountable, not in Math or English, but in life itself.
Link with images: https://borderpolar.com/2021/02/05/brainly-tutoring-or-cheating/
How I Use It
I do not use it and I would only demonstrate it as a platform that promotes shortcuts rather than critical thinking. Unless you have your students answer questions rather than asking them, that could work.
More community reviews for Brainly
Brainly has ruined our school, brainly.in is not great., great teaching students.
12 Characteristics of Strong Critical Thinkers
Strong critical thinkers demonstrate the following characteristics:
- inquisitiveness with regard to a wide range of issues
- concern to become and remain well-informed
- attentive to opportunities to use critical thinking
- self-confidence in one’s own abilities to reason
- open-mindedness regarding divergent world views
- flexibility in considering alternatives and opinions
- alertness to likely future events in order to anticipate their consequences
- understanding of the opinions of other people
- fair-mindedness in appraising reasoning
- honesty in facing one’s own biases, prejudices, stereotypes, or egocentric tendencies
- prudence in suspending, making or altering judgments
- willingness to reconsider and revise views where honest reflection suggests that change is warranted
(Based on the APA Expert Consensus Delphi Report description of strong critical thinkers.)
Critical thinking skills and mindset characteristics
No society, local or global, can sustain itself and flourish without its members learning to apply their thinking skills.
Good critical thinking is a process that requires strong cognitive skills as well as positive mindset characteristics. Critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, deduction, induction and numeracy are important. But equally important, to individuals as well as teams, are the characteristics that provide motivation to apply such skills to reach a goal. Individuals can have experience and skills but not choose to use them when making decisions. Problem-solvers and decision-makers must be willing and able to think well.
Fortunately, although reasoning and problem-solving are complex processes, it is possible to analyze, measure and improve critical thinking skills and mindset . Insight Assessment offers free teaching and learning tools in our Resource library.
Critical thinking training and measurement tools
Valuing, assessing and training thinking skills and mindset characteristics pays off for individuals, groups, companies, organizations and for society. Improving critical thinking is an important focus in the classroom and in the workplace. Measurement of skills is often the first step in the improvement process.
Insight Assessment offers more than 30 years of evaluating the critical thinking skills and the reasoning mindset of students, employees, managers, and leaders. All assessment tools are proven, secure and accessible globally on laptops, tablets and mobile phones across technology platforms.
Insight Assessment test instruments are calibrated to objectively measure the skills and mindset attributes characteristic of strong critical thinkers. Our validated group and individual reports provide comprehensive analysis of strengths and weaknesses in essential aspects of good thinking. Our assessments deliver objective and relevant results with analytics you can trust. We provide:
- A comprehensive array of academic assessments are calibrated to measure the thinking skills and mindset characteristics of students from K-12 through post-graduate school.
- INSIGHT Business Assessments are tailored to every level of employee responsibility (Executive, Professional, and Staff), giving you concrete data needed for remote workforce decisions. Specializations include Business, Health Science, Defense & Engineering and Law.
- INSIGHT Development Program is a comprehensive training program providing online self-training modules and an assessment of the client’s choice. These can be delivered directly to the employee for self-training or facilitated through the talent management trainers.
Call us at 650-697-5628 or contact us today . We will show you the benefits of incorporating the assessment of critical thinking skills and mindset characteristics into your programs.
Why everyone needs critical thinking.
Why everyone needs critical thinking Good decision-making requires good critical thinking. We often fail to notice the importance of critical thinking in everyday life. We…
Fifteen Positive Examples of Critical Thinking
Everyone needs critical thinking We all encounter opportunities in our daily lives to engage problems and decisions using strong critical thinking. Everyone needs to think…
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- What is Critical Thinking?
The ability to think critically calls for a higher-order thinking than simply the ability to recall information.
Definitions of critical thinking, its elements, and its associated activities fill the educational literature of the past forty years. Critical thinking has been described as an ability to question; to acknowledge and test previously held assumptions; to recognize ambiguity; to examine, interpret, evaluate, reason, and reflect; to make informed judgments and decisions; and to clarify, articulate, and justify positions (Hullfish & Smith, 1961; Ennis, 1962; Ruggiero, 1975; Scriven, 1976; Hallet, 1984; Kitchener, 1986; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Mines et al., 1990; Halpern, 1996; Paul & Elder, 2001; Petress, 2004; Holyoak & Morrison, 2005; among others).
After a careful review of the mountainous body of literature defining critical thinking and its elements, UofL has chosen to adopt the language of Michael Scriven and Richard Paul (2003) as a comprehensive, concise operating definition:
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Paul and Scriven go on to suggest that critical thinking is based on: "universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue, assumptions, concepts, empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions, implication and consequences, objections from alternative viewpoints, and frame of reference. Critical thinking - in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes - is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking."
This conceptualization of critical thinking has been refined and developed further by Richard Paul and Linder Elder into the Paul-Elder framework of critical thinking. Currently, this approach is one of the most widely published and cited frameworks in the critical thinking literature. According to the Paul-Elder framework, critical thinking is the:
- Analysis of thinking by focusing on the parts or structures of thinking ("the Elements of Thought")
- Evaluation of thinking by focusing on the quality ("the Universal Intellectual Standards")
- Improvement of thinking by using what you have learned ("the Intellectual Traits")
Selection of a Critical Thinking Framework
The University of Louisville chose the Paul-Elder model of Critical Thinking as the approach to guide our efforts in developing and enhancing our critical thinking curriculum. The Paul-Elder framework was selected based on criteria adapted from the characteristics of a good model of critical thinking developed at Surry Community College. The Paul-Elder critical thinking framework is comprehensive, uses discipline-neutral terminology, is applicable to all disciplines, defines specific cognitive skills including metacognition, and offers high quality resources.
Why the selection of a single critical thinking framework?
The use of a single critical thinking framework is an important aspect of institution-wide critical thinking initiatives (Paul and Nosich, 1993; Paul, 2004). According to this view, critical thinking instruction should not be relegated to one or two disciplines or departments with discipline specific language and conceptualizations. Rather, critical thinking instruction should be explicitly infused in all courses so that critical thinking skills can be developed and reinforced in student learning across the curriculum. The use of a common approach with a common language allows for a central organizer and for the development of critical thinking skill sets in all courses.
- SACS & QEP
- Planning and Implementation
- Why Focus on Critical Thinking?
- Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
- Culminating Undergraduate Experience
- Community Engagement
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is i2a?
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