Arguments are meant to be persuasive—that means the facts and figures presented in their favor might be lacking in context or come from questionable sources. Ideally, critical thinking is to be done objectively—meaning without influence from personal feelings, opinions or biases—and it focuses solely on factual information.
Strong critical thinkers do their best to evaluate information objectively. From there, you can narrow your focus on the less clear-cut topics that reside in the middle of your list for further evaluation. It can be helpful to develop an eye for unsourced claims.
When evaluating information or an argument, ask yourself the following: For example, a child who has not yet developed such skills might believe the Tooth Fairy left money under their pillow based on stories 6 core skills of critical thinking parents told them.
Even with a clear objective, however, it can still be difficult to determine what information is truly relevant. Become a better critical thinker Thinking critically is vital for anyone looking to have a successful college career and a fruitful professional life upon graduation.
Developing your critical thinking skills is something that takes concentrated work. An inference is an educated guess, and your ability to infer correctly can be polished by making a conscious effort to gather as much information as possible before jumping to conclusions.
Research When comparing arguments about an issue, independent research ability is key. Should you be identifying a trend? Does the source of this information appear to have an agenda?
When facing any new situation, question or scenario, stop to take a mental inventory of the state of affairs and ask the following questions: As we get older, it can be easier to get in the habit of keeping that impulse to ask questions at bay.
Most professionals credit their time in college as having been crucial in the development of their critical thinking abilities. What are the end results, and how could they change? Who does this benefit? It is equally important—and arguably more difficult—to learn how to set aside your own personal biases that may cloud your judgement.
Inference The ability to infer and draw conclusions based on the information presented to you is another important skill for mastering critical thinking.
What is critical thinking? Determining relevance One of the most challenging parts of thinking critically during a challenging scenario is figuring out what information is the most important for your consideration.
What seems to be the reason for this happening? When faced with a new scenario or situation to evaluate, first try skimming for clues—things like headlines, images and prominently featured statistics—and then make a point to ask yourself what you think is going on.
The best way to combat this is independent verification; find the source of the information and evaluate. The ability to infer allows you to extrapolate and discover potential outcomes when assessing a scenario.
Other data points like height and body composition, however, may alter that conclusion. Once you have a clear picture of the situation and the people, groups or factors that may be influenced, you can then begin to dive deeper into an issue and its potential solutions.
One strategy for combating this is to make a physical list of data points ranked in order of relevance.
This article was originally published in December It has since been updated. If you figure out your end goal, you can use this to inform your judgement of what is relevant. Identifying biases This skill can be exceedingly difficult, as even the smartest among us can fail to recognize biases.
Who is doing what?Scheffer and Rubenfeld discuss critical thinking habits and critical thinking skills. For each of the critical thinking skills shown below, they give a number of activity statements.
Changing or converting the condition, nature, form, or function of concepts among contexts "I improved on the basics. There are six core critical thinking skills involved in critical thinking processes according to Facione (). “The skills are interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation”.(Ibid.
p. 73)%(5). The core critical thinking skills are: interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation A person disposed towards critical thinking has positive "critical spirit, “a probing inquisitiveness, a keenness of mind, a zealous dedication to reason, and a hunger or eagerness for reliable information.”.
“The findings suggest that an effective way to hone your critical thinking skills includes having another person to confront your beliefs and challenge your thought process.
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