When you think of critical thinking the first thoughts that come to your mind are probably all negative as it has the word critical in and we associate that with criticizing. That, however, is not at all what critical thinking is about. So, let’s get to what is critical thinking.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition is “ the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” Now, that does sound all fancy but critical thinking can literally be about anything as small as going to a grocery store and deciding which shampoo to pick based on the ingredients.
Using shampoo picking as an example let’s talk about how you would critically think in this situation. You would read the back examine the ingredients. See what type of hair is it for. Have you used this type of shampoo before? You can check out the reviews to expand on your information. You can ask the shopkeeper about how they find the shampoo. All these steps you are doing in order to gather information and make a decision are part of critical thinking. So, the next time someone tells you to critically think understand it can be as small as making a decision at the grocery store.
Breaking down Critical thinking
Formulate your question?
The first step to critical thinking would be figuring out what you are going to critical think about. First, you have to form a question to critically think about the question. It can be easy as should I drink coffee after 12 pm. We have questions pop up in your head all the time and anything can be a topic to critically think about.
Gather your information
After you have come up with your question you would have to gather all the information you have. This can include online research about coffee, opinion from friends, and the impact it has on you. While critical thinking you should use all information available. However, each piece of information will have a different level of reliability and validity so you will while applying the information have to give it weightage. Information from a scientist who has studied coffee will have a different value than your friend. But for example, you might know what works for you better than the scientist as you are an individual case.
- Ask questions
Applying the information
You won’t only be deciphering the information on the value it is adding but also are you interpreting the information correctly. When I read something my understanding might be completely different from when you read it. Certain people might have a motivation behind the information they are giving so it is important to understand where the information came from and why it came.
Consider the implications
Decisions can have short-term and long-term impacts so think about the effect your decision might have. For example, if the government decided to spend more on COVID-19 the long-term impacts are more money supply and inflation. There are a lot of factors at play and we have to look at the short-term and long-term effects while critical thinking.
Explore other points of view
The first viewpoint you have or the viewpoint you have is not necessarily accurate. It is important to look at everything from different angles and have discussions around it. It helps to surround yourself with diverse opinions as this allows you to keep an open mind. Look for opposing views so you know you are making the right decision.
Wrap Up of What is Critical Thinking
Critical thinking can help make you a better decision-maker, problem-solver and allow you to understand a different point of view. When stressed or emotionally drained it can be hard to critically think. So allow yourself the space you need to become a better thinker!
In an era where we are bombarded with information it is now more than ever vital too critically think. Are you thinking for yourself or you just following the popular opinion you are surrounded with?
Comment below and let us know if this blog helped you understand what critical thinking is.
Enjoyed this blog check out our blog on How to Problem Solve! Become the great decision maker you were meant to be.