Critical Thinking
The stuff on this page is for those who 
want to succeed in life - not just school

Critical Thinking:  What is it?  Why it is important?

The wide-world reality of your college experience and your work life will focus NOT on what you know, but HOW you find, evaluate, analyze, and use information to solve problems.

You will need to respect the richness of cultural diversity and be able to relate to your work group team members who live in London, New Delhi, San Francisco, Rome, and Sao Paulo. You will have to work with your team to gather, evaluate, analyze and use information to solve problems.

These skills are called CRITICAL THINKING.

This page will help you figure out what it’s all about so you can put it to work for your success in high school and beyond!


Thanks to Linda Elder and Richard Paul at
www.criticalthinking.org
for much of the content on this page

WHAT? 
Critical thinking is the ART of analyzing and evaluating how we think with a view to improve it!

Critical thinking is a way of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem.

Critical thinking is an intentional strategy to conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information gathered by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication.  It is a way to form beliefs and develop reasons to take action. 

In its best form, critical thinking is based on universal intellectual values that go far beyond artificial cultural divisions

Values like: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

WHY? 
Everyone thinks; it is our nature as people.

But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. 

Yet the quality of our life and of what we produce, make, or build depends on the quality of our thought

Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life.

Excellence in thought, however, must be intentionally learned!

That’s why we learn critical thinking skills!

TRY IT YOURSELF!   GET GOOD AT IT!

Download a copy of these questions to use as you read:

download Analyze the author’s reasoning with critical questions

1.Focus on the author’s PURPOSE:

•What is the author’s purpose?

•Is it well stated and clearly implied?

•Is it justifiable?

2.Focus on the KEY QUESTION:

•What is the key question? Is it stated or implied?

•Is it clear and unbiased?

•Does the expression of the question do justice to the complexity of the issue?

•Are the questions and purpose relevant to each other? 

3.Focus on the INFORMATION:

•Does the author cite relevant evidence, experiences, or information essential to the issue?

•Is the information accurate?

•Does the author address the complexity of the issue?

4.Focus on the fundamental CONCEPTS:

•What concept(s) are at the heart of the author’s reasoning?

•Are the concepts clear?

•Are the ideas relevant and significant?

5.Focus on the ASSUMPTIONS:

•What are the author’s assumptions?

•What is the author taking for granted or assuming?

•Are the assumptions questionable? What are the problems with the assumptions?

6.Focus on the most important INFERENCES/CONCLUSIONS:

•What are the conclusions?

•Do they follow logically from the information relevant to the issue?

•Does the author consider alternative conclusions when the issue is complex?

•Identify the flaws in reasoning (if any).

7.Focus on POINT OF VIEW:

•What is the author’s point of view (bias)?

•Are alternative viewpoints considered?

•Does the author respond to objections from other points of view?

8.Focus on IMPLICATIONS:

•What are the implications of the author’s position?

•What are the consequences of the author’s position?