It is the essence of critical thinking. Most people, irrespective of their walks of life or the interest they choose to pursue in education and profession, have had a firsthand experience of the importance of critical thinking in life. Unfortunately, not all can process and examine data; lacking such skills can make or break one’s academic and professional career. People with low or negligible critical thinking ability easily become scapegoats for fraudulent activity and manipulation even if they fail to climb the professional or academic ladder easily. However, critical thinking skills are not one that a person is born with; they can also be acquired. Then, how can an individual garner these skills? Here are the 4 ways.
But before jumping into critical thinking skills, let’s clarify what critical thinking skills are and learn whether it impacts academic performance.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Simply put, critical thinking is the ability to rationalize and think about subjects, situations, or data. The ability to make an open-minded inquiry examines the evidence, identify and evaluate theory, and analyze and draw conclusion makes one a good critical thinker. Moreover, the ability to view things objectively without coming under the influence of personal feelings, opinions, or judgments makes one a great critical thinker is also vital to become a good critical thinker. These skills are crucial to making one develop their perceptions and pursue a subject of interest.
Here is a simple example of critical thinking:
A child who has not developed the ability to think critically believes that at midnight on Christmas Eve, Santa Clause has left the bag of goodies for him under the Christmas Tree. However, as the child grows up and develops the skill, the child can easily conclude the existence of Santa Clause is unreal.
Does Critical Thinking Affect The Academic Performance?
Yes, critical thinking is imperative for success in academics. Here are the reasons behind it:
- Quick evaluation of information
Suppose one has to choosefor an assignment. In that case, this skill allows an individual to examine the ideas, information, and arguments that could be used to develop the paper. Based on that, students can choose the topic that best utilizes these components.
- Facilitates logical thinking
Critical thinking skills allow an individual to think logically and explain complex problems. When educationalists impose critical thinking skills in the minds of their students, they force their learners to pose the right question examine data carefully, and arrive at an informed conclusion. As a result, these students become better solution-finders and think more independently than others.
- Change preconceived notions
Critical thinking empowers learners with the knowledge to analyze preconceived notions and even challenge their biases and assumptions. Having critical thinking skills in the bag helps an individual to think beyond their point of view and see things from the position they have feared or avoided before. As a result, they can prepare themselves to come across ideas larger than they have previously come across.
4 Ways To Garner Critical Thinking Skills
Though there are no specifications on what critical thinking must incorporate, manyargue that adhering to the 4 following ways can help an individual become an exceptional thinker. Here are the details:
The first step of the critical thinking process is to point out the problem and situation and the aspects that influence it. Once one gets a clear picture of the circumstances and the people, groups, and factors these situations might affect, it becomes easy to dig deep into an issue and find the probable answer.
How to identify things better?
When one encounters new circumstances, questions, or situations, one must stop assuming and make the following queries:
- What role does everybody involved with the situation play in the circumstance?
- What appears to be the reason behind the incident?
- What are the final results, and how can they be changed?
When one evaluates arguments, autonomous research is the key. Arguments must be convincing. The best way to verify the authenticity of the arguments is to find out the questionable resource or the lack of context in the facts and figures presented in the argument. Autonomous research makes this process easy.
How to enhance autonomous research?
One can never become a master at autonomous research in a day; it requires practice. The best way to ensure that one becomes a pro at independent research is by developing the habit of searching for unsourced arguments.
For example, one may ask whether a person claiming that statement to be true has got justifiable information from a credible source. It must be considered a warning if one cannot conclude while searching for an answer. However, one must also know that not all sources are valid; some may be popular but never be given credit for being authentic.
- Recognising the biases
This critical thinking skill is hard to attain. Even the most intelligent individuals often fail to identify biases, whether in verbal opinion or written context. Critical thinkers put their best effort into examining data objectively. They usually imagine themselves as a judge in the court and explore the claims of all sides of the argument, considering how biased each side of the argument is.
However, it often becomes more difficult to teach oneself how to keep aside the personal likings or favours that may impact an unbiased decision. One should have the courage to battle personal thoughts and assumptions.
If one can attain this skill, viewing things from various perspectives becomes easy.
How can one better themselves at recognizing biases?
The best way to improve at identifying biases is to recognise the sources that make things believable and examine the credibility of the sources. One needs to believe that biases exist, and one needs to ask the inner self the following questions while reviewing the following information:
- Who benefits from the biased information?
- Whether the source of information comes with an agenda
- Does the source of information ignore any claim-supportive data or facts?
- Are fluffs in the source an audience’s perception of truth?
Deduction or inference is another important skill to become a great critical thinker. If one has the talent to infer, the individual can go through the presented information and conclude easily. Data and facts are often not placed chronologically so that one can conclude easily. Most often, raw data need to be assessed to deduct and draw an inference.
One who can deduce information can easily theorize and uncover the probable outcomes while examining a situation. However, it is also important to remember that not all deductions are accurate.
Example – Knowing that someone weighs 250 pounds will instinctively infer that the individual is overweight. However, the inference may sound incorrect if one fact, like height and body composition, is considered.
How to improve the capability to deduct?
Inferring capability comes with education and experience. However, that does not indicate that the PHDs make the best inference while grass mowers don’t.
Knowledge of the subject is crucial to conclude easily, irrespective of who the individual is. Therefore, when facing new situations that require evaluation, one must first look for clues through elements like headlines, statistics, or images.
Then one must ask the inner self – what is happening in this case? The answer they get will help them to deduct the situation.
To sum up,
It is difficult to become a critical thinker in a day. Practicing examining and analyzing complex subjects and situations objectively can make one a better critical thinker. Hence, success in academic and professional life and peace and sanctity in personal life can easily to achieved and maintained.
Emmaline Hudson is a psychologist based in the UK. She is also associated with one of the pioneer research paper writing services in the country. If you need her assistance, connect with her at MyAssignmenthelp.com.