critical thinking competency

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Kat Boogaard

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critical thinking competency

How to build critical thinking skills for better decision-making

It’s simple in theory, but tougher in practice – here are five tips to get you started.

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Have you heard the riddle about two coins that equal thirty cents, but one of them is not a nickel? What about the one where a surgeon says they can’t operate on their own son?

Those brain teasers tap into your critical thinking skills. But your ability to think critically isn’t just helpful for solving those random puzzles – it plays a big role in your career. 

An impressive 81% of employers say critical thinking carries a lot of weight when they’re evaluating job candidates. It ranks as the top competency companies consider when hiring recent graduates (even ahead of communication ). Plus, once you’re hired, several studies show that critical thinking skills are highly correlated with better job performance.

So what exactly are critical thinking skills? And even more importantly, how do you build and improve them? 

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate facts and information, remain objective, and make a sound decision about how to move forward.

Does that sound like how you approach every decision or problem? Not so fast. Critical thinking seems simple in theory but is much tougher in practice, which helps explain why 65% of employers say their organization has a need for more critical thinking. 

In reality, critical thinking doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. In order to do it well, you need to:

  • Remain open-minded and inquisitive, rather than relying on assumptions or jumping to conclusions
  • Ask questions and dig deep, rather than accepting information at face value
  • Keep your own biases and perceptions in check to stay as objective as possible
  • Rely on your emotional intelligence to fill in the blanks and gain a more well-rounded understanding of a situation

So, critical thinking isn’t just being intelligent or analytical. In many ways, it requires you to step outside of yourself, let go of your own preconceived notions, and approach a problem or situation with curiosity and fairness.

It’s a challenge, but it’s well worth it. Critical thinking skills will help you connect ideas, make reasonable decisions, and solve complex problems.

7 critical thinking skills to help you dig deeper

Critical thinking is often labeled as a skill itself (you’ll see it bulleted as a desired trait in a variety of job descriptions). But it’s better to think of critical thinking less as a distinct skill and more as a collection or category of skills. 

To think critically, you’ll need to tap into a bunch of your other soft skills. Here are seven of the most important. 

Open-mindedness

It’s important to kick off the critical thinking process with the idea that anything is possible. The more you’re able to set aside your own suspicions, beliefs, and agenda, the better prepared you are to approach the situation with the level of inquisitiveness you need. 

That means not closing yourself off to any possibilities and allowing yourself the space to pull on every thread – yes, even the ones that seem totally implausible.

As Christopher Dwyer, Ph.D. writes in a piece for Psychology Today , “Even if an idea appears foolish, sometimes its consideration can lead to an intelligent, critically considered conclusion.” He goes on to compare the critical thinking process to brainstorming . Sometimes the “bad” ideas are what lay the foundation for the good ones. 

Open-mindedness is challenging because it requires more effort and mental bandwidth than sticking with your own perceptions. Approaching problems or situations with true impartiality often means:

  • Practicing self-regulation : Giving yourself a pause between when you feel something and when you actually react or take action.
  • Challenging your own biases: Acknowledging your biases and seeking feedback are two powerful ways to get a broader understanding. 

Critical thinking example

In a team meeting, your boss mentioned that your company newsletter signups have been decreasing and she wants to figure out why.

At first, you feel offended and defensive – it feels like she’s blaming you for the dip in subscribers. You recognize and rationalize that emotion before thinking about potential causes. You have a hunch about what’s happening, but you will explore all possibilities and contributions from your team members.

Observation

Observation is, of course, your ability to notice and process the details all around you (even the subtle or seemingly inconsequential ones). Critical thinking demands that you’re flexible and willing to go beyond surface-level information, and solid observation skills help you do that.

Your observations help you pick up on clues from a variety of sources and experiences, all of which help you draw a final conclusion. After all, sometimes it’s the most minuscule realization that leads you to the strongest conclusion.

Over the next week or so, you keep a close eye on your company’s website and newsletter analytics to see if numbers are in fact declining or if your boss’s concerns were just a fluke. 

Critical thinking hinges on objectivity. And, to be objective, you need to base your judgments on the facts – which you collect through research. You’ll lean on your research skills to gather as much information as possible that’s relevant to your problem or situation. 

Keep in mind that this isn’t just about the quantity of information – quality matters too. You want to find data and details from a variety of trusted sources to drill past the surface and build a deeper understanding of what’s happening. 

You dig into your email and website analytics to identify trends in bounce rates, time on page, conversions, and more. You also review recent newsletters and email promotions to understand what customers have received, look through current customer feedback, and connect with your customer support team to learn what they’re hearing in their conversations with customers.

The critical thinking process is sort of like a treasure hunt – you’ll find some nuggets that are fundamental for your final conclusion and some that might be interesting but aren’t pertinent to the problem at hand.

That’s why you need analytical skills. They’re what help you separate the wheat from the chaff, prioritize information, identify trends or themes, and draw conclusions based on the most relevant and influential facts. 

It’s easy to confuse analytical thinking with critical thinking itself, and it’s true there is a lot of overlap between the two. But analytical thinking is just a piece of critical thinking. It focuses strictly on the facts and data, while critical thinking incorporates other factors like emotions, opinions, and experiences. 

As you analyze your research, you notice that one specific webpage has contributed to a significant decline in newsletter signups. While all of the other sources have stayed fairly steady with regard to conversions, that one has sharply decreased.

You decide to move on from your other hypotheses about newsletter quality and dig deeper into the analytics. 

One of the traps of critical thinking is that it’s easy to feel like you’re never done. There’s always more information you could collect and more rabbit holes you could fall down.

But at some point, you need to accept that you’ve done your due diligence and make a decision about how to move forward. That’s where inference comes in. It’s your ability to look at the evidence and facts available to you and draw an informed conclusion based on those. 

When you’re so focused on staying objective and pursuing all possibilities, inference can feel like the antithesis of critical thinking. But ultimately, it’s your inference skills that allow you to move out of the thinking process and onto the action steps. 

You dig deeper into the analytics for the page that hasn’t been converting and notice that the sharp drop-off happened around the same time you switched email providers.

After looking more into the backend, you realize that the signup form on that page isn’t correctly connected to your newsletter platform. It seems like anybody who has signed up on that page hasn’t been fed to your email list. 

Communication

3 ways to improve your communication skills at work

3 ways to improve your communication skills at work

If and when you identify a solution or answer, you can’t keep it close to the vest. You’ll need to use your communication skills to share your findings with the relevant stakeholders – like your boss, team members, or anybody who needs to be involved in the next steps.

Your analysis skills will come in handy here too, as they’ll help you determine what information other people need to know so you can avoid bogging them down with unnecessary details. 

In your next team meeting, you pull up the analytics and show your team the sharp drop-off as well as the missing connection between that page and your email platform. You ask the web team to reinstall and double-check that connection and you also ask a member of the marketing team to draft an apology email to the subscribers who were missed. 

Problem-solving

Critical thinking and problem-solving are two more terms that are frequently confused. After all, when you think critically, you’re often doing so with the objective of solving a problem.

The best way to understand how problem-solving and critical thinking differ is to think of problem-solving as much more narrow. You’re focused on finding a solution.

In contrast, you can use critical thinking for a variety of use cases beyond solving a problem – like answering questions or identifying opportunities for improvement. Even so, within the critical thinking process, you’ll flex your problem-solving skills when it comes time to take action. 

Once the fix is implemented, you monitor the analytics to see if subscribers continue to increase. If not (or if they increase at a slower rate than you anticipated), you’ll roll out some other tests like changing the CTA language or the placement of the subscribe form on the page.

5 ways to improve your critical thinking skills

Beyond the buzzwords: Why interpersonal skills matter at work

Beyond the buzzwords: Why interpersonal skills matter at work

Think critically about critical thinking and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not as instinctive as you’d like it to be. Fortunately, your critical thinking skills are learned competencies and not inherent gifts – and that means you can improve them. Here’s how:

  • Practice active listening: Active listening helps you process and understand what other people share. That’s crucial as you aim to be open-minded and inquisitive.
  • Ask open-ended questions: If your critical thinking process involves collecting feedback and opinions from others, ask open-ended questions (meaning, questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”). Doing so will give you more valuable information and also prevent your own biases from influencing people’s input.
  • Scrutinize your sources: Figuring out what to trust and prioritize is crucial for critical thinking. Boosting your media literacy and asking more questions will help you be more discerning about what to factor in. It’s hard to strike a balance between skepticism and open-mindedness, but approaching information with questions (rather than unquestioning trust) will help you draw better conclusions. 
  • Play a game: Remember those riddles we mentioned at the beginning? As trivial as they might seem, games and exercises like those can help you boost your critical thinking skills. There are plenty of critical thinking exercises you can do individually or as a team . 
  • Give yourself time: Research shows that rushed decisions are often regrettable ones. That’s likely because critical thinking takes time – you can’t do it under the wire. So, for big decisions or hairy problems, give yourself enough time and breathing room to work through the process. It’s hard enough to think critically without a countdown ticking in your brain. 

Critical thinking really is critical

The ability to think critically is important, but it doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It’s just easier to stick with biases, assumptions, and surface-level information. 

But that route often leads you to rash judgments, shaky conclusions, and disappointing decisions. So here’s a conclusion we can draw without any more noodling: Even if it is more demanding on your mental resources, critical thinking is well worth the effort.

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What are critical thinking skills?

How to develop critical thinking skills: 12 tips, how to practice critical thinking skills at work, become your own best critic.

A client requests a tight deadline on an intense project. Your childcare provider calls in sick on a day full of meetings. Payment from a contract gig is a month behind. 

Your day-to-day will always have challenges, big and small. And no matter the size and urgency, they all ask you to use critical thinking to analyze the situation and arrive at the right solution. 

Critical thinking includes a wide set of soft skills that encourage continuous learning, resilience , and self-reflection. The more you add to your professional toolbelt, the more equipped you’ll be to tackle whatever challenge presents itself. Here’s how to develop critical thinking, with examples explaining how to use it.

Critical thinking skills are the skills you use to analyze information, imagine scenarios holistically, and create rational solutions. It’s a type of emotional intelligence that stimulates effective problem-solving and decision-making . 

When you fine-tune your critical thinking skills, you seek beyond face-value observations and knee-jerk reactions. Instead, you harvest deeper insights and string together ideas and concepts in logical, sometimes out-of-the-box , ways. 

Imagine a team working on a marketing strategy for a new set of services. That team might use critical thinking to balance goals and key performance indicators , like new customer acquisition costs, average monthly sales, and net profit margins. They understand the connections between overlapping factors to build a strategy that stays within budget and attracts new sales. 

Looking for ways to improve critical thinking skills? Start by brushing up on the following soft skills that fall under this umbrella: 

  • Analytical thinking: Approaching problems with an analytical eye includes breaking down complex issues into small chunks and examining their significance. An example could be organizing customer feedback to identify trends and improve your product offerings. 
  • Open-mindedness: Push past cognitive biases and be receptive to different points of view and constructive feedback . Managers and team members who keep an open mind position themselves to hear new ideas that foster innovation . 
  • Creative thinking: With creative thinking , you can develop several ideas to address a single problem, like brainstorming more efficient workflow best practices to boost productivity and employee morale . 
  • Self-reflection: Self-reflection lets you examine your thinking and assumptions to stimulate healthier collaboration and thought processes. Maybe a bad first impression created a negative anchoring bias with a new coworker. Reflecting on your own behavior stirs up empathy and improves the relationship. 
  • Evaluation: With evaluation skills, you tackle the pros and cons of a situation based on logic rather than emotion. When prioritizing tasks , you might be tempted to do the fun or easy ones first, but evaluating their urgency and importance can help you make better decisions. 

There’s no magic method to change your thinking processes. Improvement happens with small, intentional changes to your everyday habits until a more critical approach to thinking is automatic. 

Here are 12 tips for building stronger self-awareness and learning how to improve critical thinking: 

1. Be cautious

There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of skepticism. One of the core principles of critical thinking is asking questions and dissecting the available information. You might surprise yourself at what you find when you stop to think before taking action. 

Before making a decision, use evidence, logic, and deductive reasoning to support your own opinions or challenge ideas. It helps you and your team avoid falling prey to bad information or resistance to change .

2. Ask open-ended questions

“Yes” or “no” questions invite agreement rather than reflection. Instead, ask open-ended questions that force you to engage in analysis and rumination. Digging deeper can help you identify potential biases, uncover assumptions, and arrive at new hypotheses and possible solutions. 

3. Do your research

No matter your proficiency, you can always learn more. Turning to different points of view and information is a great way to develop a comprehensive understanding of a topic and make informed decisions. You’ll prioritize reliable information rather than fall into emotional or automatic decision-making. 

close-up-of-mans-hands-opening-a-dictionary-with-notebook-on-the-side-how-to-develop-critical-thinking-skills

4. Consider several opinions

You might spend so much time on your work that it’s easy to get stuck in your own perspective, especially if you work independently on a remote team . Make an effort to reach out to colleagues to hear different ideas and thought patterns. Their input might surprise you.

If or when you disagree, remember that you and your team share a common goal. Divergent opinions are constructive, so shift the focus to finding solutions rather than defending disagreements. 

5. Learn to be quiet

Active listening is the intentional practice of concentrating on a conversation partner instead of your own thoughts. It’s about paying attention to detail and letting people know you value their opinions, which can open your mind to new perspectives and thought processes.

If you’re brainstorming with your team or having a 1:1 with a coworker , listen, ask clarifying questions, and work to understand other peoples’ viewpoints. Listening to your team will help you find fallacies in arguments to improve possible solutions.

6. Schedule reflection

Whether waking up at 5 am or using a procrastination hack, scheduling time to think puts you in a growth mindset . Your mind has natural cognitive biases to help you simplify decision-making, but squashing them is key to thinking critically and finding new solutions besides the ones you might gravitate toward. Creating time and calm space in your day gives you the chance to step back and visualize the biases that impact your decision-making. 

7. Cultivate curiosity

With so many demands and job responsibilities, it’s easy to seek solace in routine. But getting out of your comfort zone helps spark critical thinking and find more solutions than you usually might.

If curiosity doesn’t come naturally to you, cultivate a thirst for knowledge by reskilling and upskilling . Not only will you add a new skill to your resume , but expanding the limits of your professional knowledge might motivate you to ask more questions. 

You don’t have to develop critical thinking skills exclusively in the office. Whether on your break or finding a hobby to do after work, playing strategic games or filling out crosswords can prime your brain for problem-solving. 

woman-solving-puzzle-at-home-how-to-develop-critical-thinking-skills

9. Write it down

Recording your thoughts with pen and paper can lead to stronger brain activity than typing them out on a keyboard. If you’re stuck and want to think more critically about a problem, writing your ideas can help you process information more deeply.

The act of recording ideas on paper can also improve your memory . Ideas are more likely to linger in the background of your mind, leading to deeper thinking that informs your decision-making process. 

10. Speak up

Take opportunities to share your opinion, even if it intimidates you. Whether at a networking event with new people or a meeting with close colleagues, try to engage with people who challenge or help you develop your ideas. Having conversations that force you to support your position encourages you to refine your argument and think critically. 

11. Stay humble

Ideas and concepts aren’t the same as real-life actions. There may be such a thing as negative outcomes, but there’s no such thing as a bad idea. At the brainstorming stage , don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Sometimes the best solutions come from off-the-wall, unorthodox decisions. Sit in your creativity , let ideas flow, and don’t be afraid to share them with your colleagues. Putting yourself in a creative mindset helps you see situations from new perspectives and arrive at innovative conclusions. 

12. Embrace discomfort

Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable . It isn’t easy when others challenge your ideas, but sometimes, it’s the only way to see new perspectives and think critically.

By willingly stepping into unfamiliar territory, you foster the resilience and flexibility you need to become a better thinker. You’ll learn how to pick yourself up from failure and approach problems from fresh angles. 

man-looking-down-to-something-while-thinking-how-to-develop-critical-thinking-skills

Thinking critically is easier said than done. To help you understand its impact (and how to use it), here are two scenarios that require critical thinking skills and provide teachable moments. 

Scenario #1: Unexpected delays and budget

Imagine your team is working on producing an event. Unexpectedly, a vendor explains they’ll be a week behind on delivering materials. Then another vendor sends a quote that’s more than you can afford. Unless you develop a creative solution, the team will have to push back deadlines and go over budget, potentially costing the client’s trust. 

Here’s how you could approach the situation with creative thinking:

  • Analyze the situation holistically: Determine how the delayed materials and over-budget quote will impact the rest of your timeline and financial resources . That way, you can identify whether you need to build an entirely new plan with new vendors, or if it’s worth it to readjust time and resources. 
  • Identify your alternative options: With careful assessment, your team decides that another vendor can’t provide the same materials in a quicker time frame. You’ll need to rearrange assignment schedules to complete everything on time. 
  • Collaborate and adapt: Your team has an emergency meeting to rearrange your project schedule. You write down each deliverable and determine which ones you can and can’t complete by the deadline. To compensate for lost time, you rearrange your task schedule to complete everything that doesn’t need the delayed materials first, then advance as far as you can on the tasks that do. 
  • Check different resources: In the meantime, you scour through your contact sheet to find alternative vendors that fit your budget. Accounting helps by providing old invoices to determine which vendors have quoted less for previous jobs. After pulling all your sources, you find a vendor that fits your budget. 
  • Maintain open communication: You create a special Slack channel to keep everyone up to date on changes, challenges, and additional delays. Keeping an open line encourages transparency on the team’s progress and boosts everyone’s confidence. 

coworkers-at-meeting-looking-together-the-screen-how-to-develop-critical-thinking-skills

Scenario #2: Differing opinions 

A conflict arises between two team members on the best approach for a new strategy for a gaming app. One believes that small tweaks to the current content are necessary to maintain user engagement and stay within budget. The other believes a bold revamp is needed to encourage new followers and stronger sales revenue. 

Here’s how critical thinking could help this conflict:

  • Listen actively: Give both team members the opportunity to present their ideas free of interruption. Encourage the entire team to ask open-ended questions to more fully understand and develop each argument. 
  • Flex your analytical skills: After learning more about both ideas, everyone should objectively assess the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. Analyze each idea's risk, merits, and feasibility based on available data and the app’s goals and objectives. 
  • Identify common ground: The team discusses similarities between each approach and brainstorms ways to integrate both idea s, like making small but eye-catching modifications to existing content or using the same visual design in new media formats. 
  • Test new strategy: To test out the potential of a bolder strategy, the team decides to A/B test both approaches. You create a set of criteria to evenly distribute users by different demographics to analyze engagement, revenue, and customer turnover. 
  • Monitor and adapt: After implementing the A/B test, the team closely monitors the results of each strategy. You regroup and optimize the changes that provide stronger results after the testing. That way, all team members understand why you’re making the changes you decide to make.

You can’t think your problems away. But you can equip yourself with skills that help you move through your biggest challenges and find innovative solutions. Learning how to develop critical thinking is the start of honing an adaptable growth mindset. 

Now that you have resources to increase critical thinking skills in your professional development, you can identify whether you embrace change or routine, are open or resistant to feedback, or turn to research or emotion will build self-awareness. From there, tweak and incorporate techniques to be a critical thinker when life presents you with a problem.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

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Article • 8 min read

Critical Thinking

Developing the right mindset and skills.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

We make hundreds of decisions every day and, whether we realize it or not, we're all critical thinkers.

We use critical thinking each time we weigh up our options, prioritize our responsibilities, or think about the likely effects of our actions. It's a crucial skill that helps us to cut out misinformation and make wise decisions. The trouble is, we're not always very good at it!

In this article, we'll explore the key skills that you need to develop your critical thinking skills, and how to adopt a critical thinking mindset, so that you can make well-informed decisions.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the discipline of rigorously and skillfully using information, experience, observation, and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions, and beliefs. You'll need to actively question every step of your thinking process to do it well.

Collecting, analyzing and evaluating information is an important skill in life, and a highly valued asset in the workplace. People who score highly in critical thinking assessments are also rated by their managers as having good problem-solving skills, creativity, strong decision-making skills, and good overall performance. [1]

Key Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinkers possess a set of key characteristics which help them to question information and their own thinking. Focus on the following areas to develop your critical thinking skills:

Being willing and able to explore alternative approaches and experimental ideas is crucial. Can you think through "what if" scenarios, create plausible options, and test out your theories? If not, you'll tend to write off ideas and options too soon, so you may miss the best answer to your situation.

To nurture your curiosity, stay up to date with facts and trends. You'll overlook important information if you allow yourself to become "blinkered," so always be open to new information.

But don't stop there! Look for opposing views or evidence to challenge your information, and seek clarification when things are unclear. This will help you to reassess your beliefs and make a well-informed decision later. Read our article, Opening Closed Minds , for more ways to stay receptive.

Logical Thinking

You must be skilled at reasoning and extending logic to come up with plausible options or outcomes.

It's also important to emphasize logic over emotion. Emotion can be motivating but it can also lead you to take hasty and unwise action, so control your emotions and be cautious in your judgments. Know when a conclusion is "fact" and when it is not. "Could-be-true" conclusions are based on assumptions and must be tested further. Read our article, Logical Fallacies , for help with this.

Use creative problem solving to balance cold logic. By thinking outside of the box you can identify new possible outcomes by using pieces of information that you already have.

Self-Awareness

Many of the decisions we make in life are subtly informed by our values and beliefs. These influences are called cognitive biases and it can be difficult to identify them in ourselves because they're often subconscious.

Practicing self-awareness will allow you to reflect on the beliefs you have and the choices you make. You'll then be better equipped to challenge your own thinking and make improved, unbiased decisions.

One particularly useful tool for critical thinking is the Ladder of Inference . It allows you to test and validate your thinking process, rather than jumping to poorly supported conclusions.

Developing a Critical Thinking Mindset

Combine the above skills with the right mindset so that you can make better decisions and adopt more effective courses of action. You can develop your critical thinking mindset by following this process:

Gather Information

First, collect data, opinions and facts on the issue that you need to solve. Draw on what you already know, and turn to new sources of information to help inform your understanding. Consider what gaps there are in your knowledge and seek to fill them. And look for information that challenges your assumptions and beliefs.

Be sure to verify the authority and authenticity of your sources. Not everything you read is true! Use this checklist to ensure that your information is valid:

  • Are your information sources trustworthy ? (For example, well-respected authors, trusted colleagues or peers, recognized industry publications, websites, blogs, etc.)
  • Is the information you have gathered up to date ?
  • Has the information received any direct criticism ?
  • Does the information have any errors or inaccuracies ?
  • Is there any evidence to support or corroborate the information you have gathered?
  • Is the information you have gathered subjective or biased in any way? (For example, is it based on opinion, rather than fact? Is any of the information you have gathered designed to promote a particular service or organization?)

If any information appears to be irrelevant or invalid, don't include it in your decision making. But don't omit information just because you disagree with it, or your final decision will be flawed and bias.

Now observe the information you have gathered, and interpret it. What are the key findings and main takeaways? What does the evidence point to? Start to build one or two possible arguments based on what you have found.

You'll need to look for the details within the mass of information, so use your powers of observation to identify any patterns or similarities. You can then analyze and extend these trends to make sensible predictions about the future.

To help you to sift through the multiple ideas and theories, it can be useful to group and order items according to their characteristics. From here, you can compare and contrast the different items. And once you've determined how similar or different things are from one another, Paired Comparison Analysis can help you to analyze them.

The final step involves challenging the information and rationalizing its arguments.

Apply the laws of reason (induction, deduction, analogy) to judge an argument and determine its merits. To do this, it's essential that you can determine the significance and validity of an argument to put it in the correct perspective. Take a look at our article, Rational Thinking , for more information about how to do this.

Once you have considered all of the arguments and options rationally, you can finally make an informed decision.

Afterward, take time to reflect on what you have learned and what you found challenging. Step back from the detail of your decision or problem, and look at the bigger picture. Record what you've learned from your observations and experience.

Critical thinking involves rigorously and skilfully using information, experience, observation, and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions and beliefs. It's a useful skill in the workplace and in life.

You'll need to be curious and creative to explore alternative possibilities, but rational to apply logic, and self-aware to identify when your beliefs could affect your decisions or actions.

You can demonstrate a high level of critical thinking by validating your information, analyzing its meaning, and finally evaluating the argument.

Critical Thinking Infographic

See Critical Thinking represented in our infographic: An Elementary Guide to Critical Thinking .

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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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In Summary:

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)

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  • What Is Critical Thinking? | Definition & Examples

What Is Critical Thinking? | Definition & Examples

Published on May 30, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Critical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze information and form a judgment .

To think critically, you must be aware of your own biases and assumptions when encountering information, and apply consistent standards when evaluating sources .

Critical thinking skills help you to:

  • Identify credible sources
  • Evaluate and respond to arguments
  • Assess alternative viewpoints
  • Test hypotheses against relevant criteria

Table of contents

Why is critical thinking important, critical thinking examples, how to think critically, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about critical thinking.

Critical thinking is important for making judgments about sources of information and forming your own arguments. It emphasizes a rational, objective, and self-aware approach that can help you to identify credible sources and strengthen your conclusions.

Critical thinking is important in all disciplines and throughout all stages of the research process . The types of evidence used in the sciences and in the humanities may differ, but critical thinking skills are relevant to both.

In academic writing , critical thinking can help you to determine whether a source:

  • Is free from research bias
  • Provides evidence to support its research findings
  • Considers alternative viewpoints

Outside of academia, critical thinking goes hand in hand with information literacy to help you form opinions rationally and engage independently and critically with popular media.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Critical thinking can help you to identify reliable sources of information that you can cite in your research paper . It can also guide your own research methods and inform your own arguments.

Outside of academia, critical thinking can help you to be aware of both your own and others’ biases and assumptions.

Academic examples

However, when you compare the findings of the study with other current research, you determine that the results seem improbable. You analyze the paper again, consulting the sources it cites.

You notice that the research was funded by the pharmaceutical company that created the treatment. Because of this, you view its results skeptically and determine that more independent research is necessary to confirm or refute them. Example: Poor critical thinking in an academic context You’re researching a paper on the impact wireless technology has had on developing countries that previously did not have large-scale communications infrastructure. You read an article that seems to confirm your hypothesis: the impact is mainly positive. Rather than evaluating the research methodology, you accept the findings uncritically.

Nonacademic examples

However, you decide to compare this review article with consumer reviews on a different site. You find that these reviews are not as positive. Some customers have had problems installing the alarm, and some have noted that it activates for no apparent reason.

You revisit the original review article. You notice that the words “sponsored content” appear in small print under the article title. Based on this, you conclude that the review is advertising and is therefore not an unbiased source. Example: Poor critical thinking in a nonacademic context You support a candidate in an upcoming election. You visit an online news site affiliated with their political party and read an article that criticizes their opponent. The article claims that the opponent is inexperienced in politics. You accept this without evidence, because it fits your preconceptions about the opponent.

There is no single way to think critically. How you engage with information will depend on the type of source you’re using and the information you need.

However, you can engage with sources in a systematic and critical way by asking certain questions when you encounter information. Like the CRAAP test , these questions focus on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

When encountering information, ask:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert in their field?
  • What do they say? Is their argument clear? Can you summarize it?
  • When did they say this? Is the source current?
  • Where is the information published? Is it an academic article? Is it peer-reviewed ?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence? Does it rely on opinion, speculation, or appeals to emotion ? Do they address alternative arguments?

Critical thinking also involves being aware of your own biases, not only those of others. When you make an argument or draw your own conclusions, you can ask similar questions about your own writing:

  • Am I only considering evidence that supports my preconceptions?
  • Is my argument expressed clearly and backed up with credible sources?
  • Would I be convinced by this argument coming from someone else?

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

Critical thinking skills include the ability to:

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A credible source should pass the CRAAP test  and follow these guidelines:

  • The information should be up to date and current.
  • The author and publication should be a trusted authority on the subject you are researching.
  • The sources the author cited should be easy to find, clear, and unbiased.
  • For a web source, the URL and layout should signify that it is trustworthy.

Information literacy refers to a broad range of skills, including the ability to find, evaluate, and use sources of information effectively.

Being information literate means that you:

  • Know how to find credible sources
  • Use relevant sources to inform your research
  • Understand what constitutes plagiarism
  • Know how to cite your sources correctly

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search, interpret, and recall information in a way that aligns with our pre-existing values, opinions, or beliefs. It refers to the ability to recollect information best when it amplifies what we already believe. Relatedly, we tend to forget information that contradicts our opinions.

Although selective recall is a component of confirmation bias, it should not be confused with recall bias.

On the other hand, recall bias refers to the differences in the ability between study participants to recall past events when self-reporting is used. This difference in accuracy or completeness of recollection is not related to beliefs or opinions. Rather, recall bias relates to other factors, such as the length of the recall period, age, and the characteristics of the disease under investigation.

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Critical Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples

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Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings.

Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information, and discriminate between useful and less useful details to solve problems or make decisions. Employers prioritize the ability to think critically—find out why, plus see how you can demonstrate that you have this ability throughout the job application process. 

Why Do Employers Value Critical Thinking Skills?

Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution.

 Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions independently, and will not need constant handholding.

Hiring a critical thinker means that micromanaging won't be required. Critical thinking abilities are among the most sought-after skills in almost every industry and workplace. You can demonstrate critical thinking by using related keywords in your resume and cover letter, and during your interview.

Examples of Critical Thinking

The circumstances that demand critical thinking vary from industry to industry. Some examples include:

  • A triage nurse analyzes the cases at hand and decides the order by which the patients should be treated.
  • A plumber evaluates the materials that would best suit a particular job.
  • An attorney reviews evidence and devises a strategy to win a case or to decide whether to settle out of court.
  • A manager analyzes customer feedback forms and uses this information to develop a customer service training session for employees.

Promote Your Skills in Your Job Search

If critical thinking is a key phrase in the job listings you are applying for, be sure to emphasize your critical thinking skills throughout your job search.

Add Keywords to Your Resume

You can use critical thinking keywords (analytical, problem solving, creativity, etc.) in your resume. When describing your  work history , include top critical thinking skills that accurately describe you. You can also include them in your  resume summary , if you have one.

For example, your summary might read, “Marketing Associate with five years of experience in project management. Skilled in conducting thorough market research and competitor analysis to assess market trends and client needs, and to develop appropriate acquisition tactics.”

Mention Skills in Your Cover Letter

Include these critical thinking skills in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, mention one or two of these skills, and give specific examples of times when you have demonstrated them at work. Think about times when you had to analyze or evaluate materials to solve a problem.

Show the Interviewer Your Skills

You can use these skill words in an interview. Discuss a time when you were faced with a particular problem or challenge at work and explain how you applied critical thinking to solve it.

Some interviewers will give you a hypothetical scenario or problem, and ask you to use critical thinking skills to solve it. In this case, explain your thought process thoroughly to the interviewer. He or she is typically more focused on how you arrive at your solution rather than the solution itself. The interviewer wants to see you analyze and evaluate (key parts of critical thinking) the given scenario or problem.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Top Critical Thinking Skills

Keep these in-demand critical thinking skills in mind as you update your resume and write your cover letter. As you've seen, you can also emphasize them at other points throughout the application process, such as your interview. 

Part of critical thinking is the ability to carefully examine something, whether it is a problem, a set of data, or a text. People with  analytical skills  can examine information, understand what it means, and properly explain to others the implications of that information.

  • Asking Thoughtful Questions
  • Data Analysis
  • Interpretation
  • Questioning Evidence
  • Recognizing Patterns

Communication

Often, you will need to share your conclusions with your employers or with a group of colleagues. You need to be able to  communicate with others  to share your ideas effectively. You might also need to engage in critical thinking in a group. In this case, you will need to work with others and communicate effectively to figure out solutions to complex problems.

  • Active Listening
  • Collaboration
  • Explanation
  • Interpersonal
  • Presentation
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication

Critical thinking often involves creativity and innovation. You might need to spot patterns in the information you are looking at or come up with a solution that no one else has thought of before. All of this involves a creative eye that can take a different approach from all other approaches.

  • Flexibility
  • Conceptualization
  • Imagination
  • Drawing Connections
  • Synthesizing

Open-Mindedness

To think critically, you need to be able to put aside any assumptions or judgments and merely analyze the information you receive. You need to be objective, evaluating ideas without bias.

  • Objectivity
  • Observation

Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another critical thinking skill that involves analyzing a problem, generating and implementing a solution, and assessing the success of the plan. Employers don’t simply want employees who can think about information critically. They also need to be able to come up with practical solutions.

  • Attention to Detail
  • Clarification
  • Decision Making
  • Groundedness
  • Identifying Patterns

More Critical Thinking Skills

  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Noticing Outliers
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Brainstorming
  • Optimization
  • Restructuring
  • Integration
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management
  • Ongoing Improvement
  • Causal Relationships
  • Case Analysis
  • Diagnostics
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Business Intelligence
  • Quantitative Data Management
  • Qualitative Data Management
  • Risk Management
  • Scientific Method
  • Consumer Behavior

Key Takeaways

  • Demonstrate that you have critical thinking skills by adding relevant keywords to your resume.
  • Mention pertinent critical thinking skills in your cover letter, too, and include an example of a time when you demonstrated them at work.
  • Finally, highlight critical thinking skills during your interview. For instance, you might discuss a time when you were faced with a challenge at work and explain how you applied critical thinking skills to solve it.

University of Louisville. " What is Critical Thinking ."

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Critical Thinking

What is critical thinking.

Critical thinking is NOT problem solving, is NOT creativity, is NOT information literacy, is NOT knowledge transfer, it is definitely NOT about criticizing someone's opinion. 

Critical thinking is the ability to make judgement clearly and rationally by processing, engaging and evaluating information through reflective and independent thinking. The judgement could be based on many approaches and sources such as what you have learnt, known, understood, examined, experiences, saw, and heard.

Chan, cky (2021).

There are many definitions on critical thinking. Here are some of the definitions:

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. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. (Scriven & Paul, 1987).

Critical thinking is the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgement. This process gives reasoned consideration to evidence, context, conceptualizations, methods and criteria. (Facione, 1990)

Critical Thinking involves three things: (1) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods. (Glaser, 1941)

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Are You a Critical Thinker?

A critical thinker is someone who is able to do the following:

Evaluate the situation clearly and rationally;

Assess alternate perspectives;

Process, connect and reflect on the information from many sources of evidence; and

Form independent judgement based on evidence or sound reasoning.

A critical thinker does not only accumulate information well, but they also know how to use the information to deduce important facts and outcomes. By conceptualizing outcomes, critical thinkers are better at problem-solving than people who simply memorize information. Because of this, employers value critical thinking, especially in roles where preparing strategy is essential.

Critical thinker_F.png

Why is Critical Thinking Important?

Critical thinking is significant to be taught as it is essential in one’s lifelong development, both in learning, in workplace and in life. There are a number of reasons explaining how essential critical thinking competency is.

Employers consider critical thinking skills as one of the most valued attributes of job candidates (Penkauskienė, Railienė & Cruz, 2019); 

Individuals with critical thinking competency “experience fewer negative life events” (Australian Christian College, 2021, p. 1);

Critical thinking competency is required for individuals to “discern falsehood and make reasoned arguments” (p. 1), especially for their faith;

With critical thinking competency, individuals can renew minds and cultivate wisdom;

With critical thinking competency, language and presentation skills are enhanced (Lau & Chan, 2021);

With critical thinking competency, individuals’ creativity is promoted (Lau & Chan, 2021); and

With critical thinking competency, one can process self-evaluation (Lau & Chan, 2021).

How is Critical Thinking Developed?

Before we look into some effective instructional strategies that help developing critical thinking, we should first understand some barriers that hinder the development of this competency.

Barriers for Students in Developing Critical Thinking Competency

The barriers mainly include (1) problem transfer and (2) didactic teaching approach.

As mentioned by Goodsett (2020), the problem of transfer is the most notable barrier for developing critical thinking competency. While students develop their critical thinking competency in certain domain successfully does not exactly mean that they are able to transfer this competency to a new context. Some reasons of the lack of transfer include: (1) memory problems and (2) the inability in recognizing what critical thinking skills should be used.

While for didactic teaching approach, In Pithers & Soden’s research (2000), it is proposed that some teaching behaviours of critical thinking may hinder students’ development of critical thinking competency. Some examples of these teaching behaviours include:

Simply demonstrating and explaining while teaching;

Interrupting students’ responses while teaching;

Only disapproving but not praising students while teaching;

Asking only recall-type questions while teaching; and

Believing there is a “correct programme” to teach critical thinking.

For more information about the hindrance in the development of critical thinking competency, you may refer to the research done by Pithers & Soden (2000).

Effective Instructional Strategies in Teaching Critical Thinking

Having a basic understanding on the barriers, we now look into some instructional strategies that are proven to be effective in developing students’ critical thinking competency.

Socratic teaching is one of the oldest and the most powerful teaching tactic for developing students’ critical thinking. According to Elder & Paul (1998), Socratic teaching is a question-driven instruction. In this type of teaching, students are not directly given information (answers). Instead, teachers ask questions to prompt students’ critical thinking because the underlying assumption in Socratic teaching is “thinking is driven not by answers but by questions” (p. 297). Through this pedagogy, students engage in an inquiring and probing mind set in order to draw conclusions and even generate new ideas. Through engaging in critical thinking, reasoning and logic, one is prepared for Socratic questioning.

The research of Yang, Newby & Bill (2005) can support the effectiveness of Socratic teaching in fostering students’ critical thinking. In their research, they study “the effects of using Socratic questioning to enhance students’ critical thinking skills in asynchronous discussion forums (ADF) in university-level distance learning course” (p. 163) through conducting an experiential research lasting for two consecutive 16-week semesters.  Under the experiential research, there are two planned research procedures naming Treatment I and II, in which observations are performed at appropriate times for the measurement and collection of the required data. The measurement of students’ critical thinking is conducted through applying the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, as well as using the coding scheme for critical thinking evaluation in computer conferencing to analyse class discussion content in the ADF context. The findings indicate that critical thinking skills can be enhanced through the use of Socratic questioning in an ADF context, as long as the course design, as well as instructional interventions are appropriate. This is because in an ADF context, students are given the time to conduct thoughtful analysis, to negotiate and reflect their discussions. While for teachers, they are allowed to “model, foster and evaluate the critical thinking skills exhibited during the discussion” (p. 179).

Apart of Socratic teaching, a reflective judgement model, which “builds on the idea of ill-structured problems” (Goodsett, 2020, p. 4) is also proposed by King and Kitchener (2004) to approach critical thinking. Maskey (2011) has conducted a research evaluating the relationship between critical thinking and reflective judgment by comparing two measures, the Reasoning about Current Issue (RCI) test for reflective judgment and the HESI Exit Exam for critical thinking. The samples involved in this study are senior associate degree nursing students. The findings of the study indicated a positive correlation between reflective judgment and critical thinking, though it is important to bear in mind that critical thinking and reflective judgment should be viewed as two separate concepts.  

Another instructional strategy is the inquiry-based instruction model which “promotes the metacognitive element of critical thinking” (Goodsett, 2020, p.4) to allow students identify misconceptions and knowledge gaps, so that students are able to develop the mechanisms they need to fill the gaps. In this model, it emphasizes on developing students with the habit of inquiry and as a result they know how to ask thoughtful questions (King, 1995). King (1995)’s research demonstrates examples on how inquiry-based approach can be applied for the promotion of critical thinking. For example, King tries to guide students to generate their critical thinking questions through reciprocal peer questioning, which means students take turns in asking questions to their peers and answer their peers’ questions in a reciprocal manner.

Concept mapping is also a useful instructional strategy to promote critical thinking as it allows students to expand their thinking on various issues. A research related to concept mapping is conducted under the nursing education context. In Yue, Zhang, Zhang & Jin (2017)’s research, concept mapping’s effect in the development of critical thinking is assessed. The results of the study support the effectiveness of concept mapping in improving students’ critical thinking competency.

How Should I Assess Critical Thinking?

Teaching and learning critical thinking are challenging but the possibility to develop critical thinking competency remains as long as effective instructional strategies are used. Once students develop their critical thinking competency, the next area we need to focus on is the assessment of their competency.

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There are various types of assessments for critical thinking. According to Liu, Frankel & Roohr (2014), there are multiple themes captured by critical thinking assessments due to “the multivariate nature of definitions offered by critical thinking” (p. 4). Some common assessments include California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, Watson–Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, Cornell Critical Thinking Test and Collegiate Learning Assessment+, etc. The key themes focused by these assessments, such as reasoning, argumentation, analysis, as well as evaluation, are always overlapped. However, there are also some dimensions that are differed in each test, such as the debate on whether decision making or problem solving should be included in critical thinking as well. 

Examples of Assessment Approaches for Critical Thinking

Case Studies

To demonstrate how critical thinking can be assessed, we look into the research conducted by Mahmoud & Mohamed (2017). In their research, they investigate “critical thinking disposition among nurses working in Public Hospitals in Port-Said Governorate” (p. 128). Through this study, they investigate on three areas, including (1) the staff nurses’ critical thinking level, (2) the “highest and lowest critical thinking subscale among staff nurse” (p. 129) and (3) whether the critical thinking disposition of the nurses is related to their job and personal characteristics. A total of 196 nurses are recruited for the study through random sampling from 3 public hospitals. The California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory is used for assessing the dispositions, with a 6-point Likert Scale as the scoring system (6 as strongly agree and 1 as strongly disagree). The findings of the study reveal that the majority of the staff nurses “are ambivalent regarding the total critical thinking disposition, according to the distribution of the scores obtained from CCTDI.

Apart from the common types of assessments mentioned above, there is also another assessment method proposed by Bissell & Lemons (2006). In their research, they develop a method to assess critical thinking under the context of an introductory biology course. Their methodology consists of four main steps, including:

Write questions that requires both biological knowledge, as well as critical thinking skills.

Devise a scoring rubric after documenting the content, as well as the required critical thinking skills.

Submit the questions to experts of biology for a validity check.

Put forward the administration of the assessment to students. Score them according to the scoring rubric.

This assessment methodology, according to Bissell & Lemons (2006), is successfully undertaken in Duke University, in an introductory biology course with around 150 students. It is found that students’ awareness on the quality of response are increased. They tend to reflect more and their critical thinking abilities are improved. 

This is a general introduction on the definition of critical thinking competency, as well as its development and assessment. If you are interested in knowing more details, you may refer to the further reading session for references.

Further Readings

If you want to understand more on critical thinking literacy, you may visit this website:

Critical Thinking Skills

https://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/critical-thinking.html

Australian Christian College. (2021). Critical thinking: an essential skill for every student. Retrieved from: https://www.acc.edu.au/blog/critical-thinking-essential-skill/

Bissell, A. N., & Lemons, P. P. (2006). A new method for assessing critical thinking in the classroom. BioScience, 56(1), 66-72. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2006)056[0066:ANMFAC]2.0.CO;2

Elder, L., & Paul, R. (1998). The role of Socratic questioning in thinking, teaching, and learning. The Clearing House, 71(5), 297-301. https://doi.org/10.1080/00098659809602729

Facione, P. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction (The Delphi Report).

Glaser, E. (1942). An experiment in the development of critical thinking. Teachers College Record, 43(5), 409-410.

Goodsett, M. (2020). Best practices for teaching and assessing critical thinking in information literacy online learning objects. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46(5), 102163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102163

King, A. (1995). Designing the instructional process to enhance critical thinking across the curriculum. Teaching of Psychology, 22(1), 13-17. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top2201_5

King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (2004). Reflective judgment: Theory and research on the development of epistemic assumptions through adulthood. Educational psychologist, 39(1), 5-18. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep3901_2

Lau. J.,& Chan, J. (2021). What is critical thinking?. Retrieved from: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/00400910310484321/full/html

Liu, O. L., Frankel, L., & Roohr, K. C. (2014). Assessing critical thinking in higher education: Current state and directions for next‐generation assessment. ETS Research Report Series, 2014(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1002/ets2.12009

Mahmoud, A. S., & Mohamed, H. A. (2017). Critical thinking disposition among nurses working in public hospitals at port-said governorate. International journal of nursing sciences, 4(2), 128-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnss.2017.02.006

Penkauskienė, Daiva, Railienė, Asta, & Cruz, Gonçalo. (2019). How is critical thinking valued by the labour market? Employer perspectives from different European countries. Studies in Higher Education (Dorchester-on-Thames), 44(5), 804-815. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1586323

Pithers, R. T., & Soden, R. (2000). Critical thinking in education: A review. Educational research, 42(3), 237-249. https://doi.org/10.1080/001318800440579

Scriven, M., & Paul, R. (1987). Critical thinking. In The 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, CA (Vol. 7, No. 9).

Yue, M., Zhang, M., Zhang, C., & Jin, C. (2017). The effectiveness of concept mapping on development of critical thinking in nursing education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nurse education today, 52, 87-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.02.018

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Critical thinking as a core competence for the future

critical thinking competency

Abstract   –  The idea of learning as a transfer of knowledge pure and simple has been increas ingly challenged. A complex future requires tools  and abilities enabling us to respond effectively  without needing to rely on others. This article ex plores the role of creativity, critical and indepen dent thinking as well as core skills and compe tences that are useful for a self-reliant individual. Educators need to interact with learners in ways that raise their consciousness to question as sumptions about established routines and systems and motivate learners towards critical thinking in life and in learning. 

We live in an era of change. Technology and globalisation are two strong driving forces, changing the way we interact, learn and work. Advances in technology mean that competences such as communication include new and more complex skill sets compared to only a few years ago. We are increasingly attending virtual meetings, and learning activities are often conducted online. More and more services, such as filling in your tax return, applying for a job and so on, are done online. Snail mail is now almost obsolete. Trends and progress in technology have made information readily available, and it comes from many sources. This means that there is a need to be selective in the way we consume information. We also need to apply critical thinking when it comes to processing it. New realities and ways of life to which we are exposed create different and complex interactions that require skills in order to act quickly, independently and thoughtfully as well as to think critically in order to question and analyse information and to make effective decisions.

The need for critical thinking

A fast-paced world requires skills and competences that can keep up with the rapid changes and enable us to adapt to society and actively participate in all spheres of social and economic life. Surviving in the future therefore has to include skills and competences that aim to promote the ability to think in a critical way through life experiences from a personal, civic, social and even an economic perspective. Borrowing from

critical thinking competency

Dewey and Piaget, Kolb (1984) developed ways of enhancing critical thinking through the model of experiential learning based on

  • experience,
  • reflection on experience,
  • forming abstract concepts arising from that reflection, and finally
  • testing the concepts.

Such reflective practices can promote autonomous learning, and aim to develop understanding and critical thinking skills. In this article, I will consider competences by first looking at capabilities and focusing on the role of self-reliance as a component of critical thinking, after which I will review the role of a critical being and finally look at how critical thinking is a practical competence for the future.

“Surviving in the future therefore has to include skills and competences that aim to promote the ability to think in a critical way through life experiences from a personal, civic, social and even an economic perspective.”

Developing practical capabilities.

Human beings progress in life through interaction with their environment, family, home, community and society at large. As we plan our progress and development, we create situations that shape and optimise our practical capabilities to manage our environments. This requires flexible and practical capabilities to shape the physical, social, technological and cultural ways that will nurture positive progress. Those abilities involve empowerment and self-reliance, to be creative in life choices that will shape that future in the way that we envision. Supporting the development of such capabilities should involve empowering individuals and communities to be able to “do” and to “be”. According to Nussbaum (2011), this capability to do and to be is about the availability of genuine opportunities where questions such as “what are people able to do” are considered, shifting the emphasis onto skills that create opportunity. This approach looks at abilities to evolve and to use knowledge effectively in order to strengthen skills and competences for life and work through critical thinking. We knew this in the past, but we have lost it. Capabilities to operate and act in this way have been eroded over time, mostly during the period of colonisation, where capabilities and confidence to act independently were suppressed, particularly in Africa.

critical thinking competency

The effects of colonialism on self-reliance

Colonisation in Africa was built on perceived ideas of the levels of the human race and the place of the African people who, it was felt, needed to be modernised. Political, health, education and cultural systems were set up based on the colonisers’ culture, and indigenous systems were disregarded as inadequate or non-existent. These systems created a limited sense of who the communities were, leading to experiences of self-hate, low self-esteem and lack of respect for one’s own culture and the start of an experience of a peculiar type of psychological dependency on others (Woolman, 2001). When most African countries gained independence in the 1960s, ideologies such as materialism and consumerism were embraced by indigenous peoples, and colonial-style leadership continued, embracing repressive and undemocratic systems and structures which the new leaders had observed and learnt. The citizens considered themselves free and independent, but they were still mentally colonised, still dependent on the former coloniser to provide guidance (Mungazi, 1996). Colonisation, due to its oppressive ways, had rendered the indigenous people incapable of practicing creativity, and had left them without the ability to mould their own lives.

The role of critical thinking in self-reliance

Progress and staying competitive in a complex future is an elaborate process of making choices and freedom to make those choices. This requires education and learning that look beyond creating skills for livelihood and income generation which are narrow in the way they focus on a set of skills for particular tasks. The perceived potential for skills which generate short-term profits will take individuals only so far. Dilemmas and challenges that arise from a complex environment would need skills that enable one to examine and reflect on issues and grasp current events in the world in a way that can support practical decision-making. Critical thinking is a skill that enables one to “self-evolve” through reflection, evaluation and decision-making. This may lead to improved self-esteem and self-confidence. In adult learning situations, this becomes essential when it comes to enabling learners to identify obstacles that prevent them from reaching their goals. Critical thinking enables them to operate in a self-reliant and efficient way in a potentially complex future, and to become capable and critical beings.

The critical being

Reflecting and acting in a critical way is more than a set of skills, it is an approach to life centred on the concept of a “critical being”. This concept embraces critical reflection, critical self-evaluation and critical action where a critical person becomes more than a critical thinker. He/she is able to critically engage with the world through self-critique and challenging that which appears to be self-evident. Barnett (1997) suggested a way of looking at being critical in levels made up of critical reason (knowledge), critical reflection (the self) and critical action (the world), where he emphasised the need to contest and challenge issues in order to be free of beliefs and knowledge systems that limit potential.

Some learning processes often focus on outcomes that have defined and pre-determined competences, which may limit critical thought due to the defined outcome. If learning encourages open conversation, where the outcome is open to a learner’s circumstances based on the issues that they are addressing, critical thinking and open-ended reflections on concepts take place. This way individuals can look beyond dependence on a defined way of thinking or working, and become self-reliant by developing a flexible set of skills that fit into a rapidly-moving world that is continually reshaping itself.

Perception of the critical being in the future

Educators and leaders have an obligation to support adult learners in overcoming the effects of domination that eroded self-efficacy and gave way to a mind-set of inadequacy. Community development initiatives, for example, continually rely on aid and on the support of government and international agencies to solve local problems. This lack of belief in individual and community ability is perpetuated by an education system that does not expose learners to creative and critical perspectives and exposes citizens to a future of dependence. If competences do not include critical thinking, then when a crisis situation arises, the reflective process that can enable one to address the situation is ineffective.

In critical thinking, the learner actively constructs new ideas or concepts and supports a learner’s efforts towards becoming aware of their surroundings beyond their immediate contacts. (Merriam and Caffarella, 1999). They become aware that any opportunity can be a learning opportunity, and that it does not have to be in a certain setting for it to qualify as a learning process. This awareness of opportunities for learning can enhance experiences and offer an opportunity to reflect and to identify useful ways to navigate through the myriad of issues, both current ones and those which are to be faced in the future. Exercising thinking in a critical manner as a way of life has the potential to translate into a transformation of learners’ outlook on life in general.

Critical thinking in community learning – a Kenyan example

Approaches to community learning should include a process that explores skills and competences for self-reliance through critical thinking as a way to survive now and in the future. Community and adult educators should think creatively, and also support learners in thinking and acting creatively and critically in their approach to life. This can begin with the way in which educators interact with the learners in order to explore and expose that potential using creative methods that encourage opportunities for thought, discussion and personal expression. In my research study with Kenyan communities, evidence showed that participants had not been exposed to learning and working in ways that enabled them to reflect and think critically and to engage with issues. When presented with opportunities to work in this way, the groups demonstrated innate capabilities to reflect and evaluate situations and showed a desire to develop skills that could be useful for their decision-making process. In this research process, the participants were engaged in a way that required them to reflect on, evaluate and respond to questions presented to them, and then to discuss their ideas emerging from that thinking process. By working with community participants in this way, we demonstrated faith in the participants’ abilities to apply themselves. By respecting the ideas that emerged, learners were able to recognise their capabilities to think and act independently, and to begin to work towards building confidence and self-belief.

Critical thinking as a future competence

If critical thinking helps us make better informed decisions, then we are able to avoid certain mistakes that would have occurred unnecessarily. There is no specific guarantee that critical thinking will provide success and happiness, but it is useful when it comes to avoiding dependence on others and choices that may lead to unnecessary difficulties. In the words of earlier thinkers such as Immanuel Kant, critical thinking liberates us, guides us through the journey of finding meaning for ourselves, and helps us understand why we believe what we believe. As critical thinkers or critical beings, we do not naively accept knowledge or situations, but we re-think our circumstances based on the evidence that we gather, in order to improve our situations. Critical thinking is not being suggested here as the perfect route to freeing man from what Kant (1784) referred to as “immaturity”, but it can act as a starting point for assessing what one needs.

When critical thinking is used constructively with the purpose of attempting to understand our knowledge and to reason things out, then we are able to put issues into perspective, and this can be a positive process. Critical thinking allows us to question things, and this in turn enables us to construct new ideas from knowledge that we have and to build on that knowledge rather than depending on other people to “help” or “advise” us without applying ourselves first. Actively constructing new ideas and concepts requires internalising knowledge and building the learning based on the information learnt. This means that learning becomes an individual’s active process to discover principles, ideas and facts. Critical thinking enables people to go through this process, to focus on their development and to review their moti-vation, self-efficacy and even attitudes towards the learning process.

This shifts the focus on to competences for decision making based on critical reflective practice that enhances continuous learning and meaningful improvement as well as progress. This means for the future that practical skills and competences will need to focus on creative and critical thinking that leads to self-reliance centred on:

  • An ability to question assumptions and being able to separate fact from opinions. Questioning the way we think and act in order to unveil gaps and non-logic to uncover what is beneath.
  • Recognising what is in the context by evaluating the arguments through an objective analysis of examining the quality of any supporting evidence. Then exploring what the wider issues in the subject or context are likely to be and being aware of possible future trends.
  • Reflecting on multiple alternatives and establishing the usefulness of the information influencing today and affecting the future.
  • Knowing how to bring the process to an end through logical conclusions and being sufficiently flexible to change position in the light of new evidence.

critical thinking competency

By acquiring and updating practical critical thinking as a central part of skills and competences, people can adapt to society and actively participate in all spheres of social and economic life, thus taking more control of their future. This process encourages continuous learning and emphasises knowing, doing and being. It advances levels of knowledge in a way that reminds us that learning represents a way of life that can be affected by the way in which we choose to respond to what life presents to us. Our outlook, self-beliefs and habits of the mind provide an open-minded attitude that enables learning to take place in a way which builds effective skills and competences that are useful for a fast-paced world.

Barnett, R. (1997): Higher Education: A Critical Business. Open University Press, UK.

Kant, I. (1784): “What is Enli ghtenment”. www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/kant.html

Kolb D. A. (1984): Experiential Learning experience as a source of learning and development, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Merriam, S. B. and Caffarella, R. S. (1999): Learning in Adulthood. A comprehensive guide, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mungazi, D.A. (1996): The Mind of Black Africa. London: Praeger.

Nussbaum, M. (2011): Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Woolman, D.C. (2001): “Educational reconstruction and post-colonial curriculum development: A comparative study of four African countries”. International Education Journal Vol. 2, No. 5, 2001. 

About the author

Dr Nancy Njiraini is a Director at the Networks for Learning social enterprise. She is also an Affiliate of the University of Glasgow and an Adjunct Lecturer at PUEA. Nancy has a PhD in Adult Education and has collected extensive experience in work-based learning, community learning, TVET and practical research in adult learning.

Contact [email protected]  

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As you prepare for your future, developing a range of transferrable skills is essential to help you succeed in your chosen field. One valuable resource to help guide your growth is the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Career and Self-Development Competencies. These competencies are a set of skills and behaviors that employers consider essential for workplace success. Focusing on these competencies improves your marketability and Career Success.

Career and Self-Development Competency

By taking ownership of your career development, you position yourself for success and make the most of your talents and potential.

  • Be aware of your strengths and areas for development
  • Set SMART goals for personal and professional growth
  • Participate in professional development activities
  • Assume duties or positions that will help you progress professionally
  • Network with professionals in your field and seek feedback from peers and supervisors
  • Adapt to changes and challenges in the workplace
  • Participate in events such as the Career Expo , Mock Interview Day, and company information sessions
  • Complete and review the Career Action Plan (CAP) with your Career Specialist
  • Create and practice a personal elevator pitch
  • Conduct informational interviews with industry professi onals
  • Research companies to learn about professional development opportunities

Communication Competency

Strong communication is a highly sought - after skill essential for navigating team dynamics and projects, solving problems, managing your career, and more.

  • Listen actively and respond appropriately to others
  • Adapt communication style to fit respective audiences and situations
  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and respect for diverse perspectives and backgrounds
  • Give and receive constructive feedback in a professional manner
  • Demonstrate conflict resolution abilities
  • Use communication technologies effectivel
  • Review your resume with your Career Specialist
  • Create and review your cover letter with your Career Specialist
  • Attend the Huntsman Career Expo (Fall Semester) or Mock Interview Day (Spring Semester)
  • Practice your interviewing skills on StandOut
  • Hone your skills in Business Communications (BUS 3200)

Critical Thinking Competency

Employers rate critical thinking as the most important skill they seek in job candidates. Critical thinking is the ability to “identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.”

  • Identify and evaluate relevant information from multiple sources
  • Use logical reasoning and evidence - based thinking (data) to make decisions
  • Recognize and challenge assumptions and biases
  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in problem - solving
  • Evaluate the potential impact and consequences of decisions
  • Continuously improve processes and strategies based on feedback and outcomes
  • P articipate in a Club/Organization case competition
  • Compare your resume with a desired job description and identify skill gaps
  • Meet with your Career Specialist for a Mock Interview
  • Work with the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the Analytics Solutions Center
  • Collaborate with a faculty member to conduct original research

Equity and Inclusion Competency

As you navigate an increasingly diverse and globalized world, developing skills and behaviors that promote equity and inclusion in the workplace is essential.

  • Be respectful and sensitive toward individuals from diverse backgrounds such as culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, etc.
  • Challenge your biases and assumptions by participating in diverse cultures and activities
  • Advocate for and promote diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion
  • Speak up against discrimination, harassment, and inequity
  • Understand the impact of power dynamics and privilege in the workplace
  • Participate in a Global Learning Experience or SEED Internship
  • Join an HSB or USU Club or Organization with equity and inclusion outcomes
  • Participate in events hosted by the USU Inclusion Center
  • Participate in events hosted by th e Center for Community Engagement
  • English Language Center of Cache Valley
  • Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection (CRIC)
  • Bridgerland Literacy Program
  • Civilian Conservation Corps or AmeriCorps
  • Religious Service
  • World Hunger Relief Farm

Leadership Competency

Leadership involves more than just managing people; it's about creating and implementing a vision, motivating and inspiring others, and driving results.

  • Lead by example and model positive behaviors and attitudes
  • Make responsible and ethical decisions
  • Take the initiative and ownership of tasks and projects
  • Build and maintain positive relationships with team members and colleagues
  • Innovate and identify opportunities for growth by seeking feedback
  • Attend Focused Fridays Leadership Forums and ref lect on common themes as well as differences in the leadership styles of these industry leaders
  • Read leadership - focused books such as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, Good to Great by Jim Collins, or Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  • Huntsman Business Council
  • Huntsman Clubs/Student Organization Leader ship
  • Business Ambassador
  • Covey Leadership Fellows
  • University Ambassador
  • Utah State University Student Association

Professionalism

Professionals strive for excellence, create a positive work environment, and contribute to the overall success of their team and organization.

  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to yourself, others, and the organization
  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organizational and individual career values
  • Show accountability and take responsibility for mistakes
  • Demonstrate dependability, be present and prepared for work, and adhere to workplace policies and procedures
  • Dress and behave appropriately in the workplace
  • Engage with employers at the Huntsman Career Expo or a USU Career Fair
  • Practice interviewing at the Huntsman Mock Interview Day
  • Request feedback from an employer and set goals accordingly
  • Complete an internship or co - op experience
  • Participate in a case competition or professional development opportunity through an HSB Club or Organization
  • Watch the Backpack to Briefcase : Dress for Success video

You can learn a great deal from working in teams and other collaborative settings. The ability to "contribute to a team structure, balance roles of leading and following, and effectively negotiate and manage conflict" will come into play many times throughout your academic and professional career.

  • Build strong, positive working relationships with your supervisor and coworkers
  • Listen to others, take time to understand, and ask appropriate questions without interrupting
  • Manage conflict with respect for diverse personalities and work styles
  • Be account able for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables
  • Celebrate team successes and acknowledge individual contributions
  • Reflect and evaluate team performance to identify areas for improvement
  • Participate in a group project, presentation, or research
  • Join an HSB Club or Organization and participate in group activities
  • Watch professional development videos on teamwork, such as "How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team"
  • Organize a service project including 3+ people

Employers seek candidates that "unde rstand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals." They want and need professionals to demonstrate effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

  • Develop and maintain a positive online presence as a professional tool
  • Update and develop technical skills through training and self - learning
  • Use technology to enhance efficiency, quickly adapting to new or unfamiliar technologies
  • Understand how to protect sensitive information and data through the secure use of technology
  • Identify and implement technological solutions to improve processes and solve problems
  • Use technology to research and analyze data to inform decision - making
  • Attend events such as Silicon Slopes and consider the role of technology in your desired industry
  • Earn techn ical certifications such as MS Excel, Tableau, Python, etc.
  • Research technology frequently used within your industry of interest
  • Participate in a technology - based project (i.e., create a website, use advanced Excel, etc.)
  • Learn new technology using resourc es such as LinkedIn Learning, W3Schools , Pluralsight , or Udemy

Learn more about the NACE Career Competencies on their website

NACE Website

Critical thinking definition

critical thinking competency

Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process, which is why it's often used in education and academics.

Some even may view it as a backbone of modern thought.

However, it's a skill, and skills must be trained and encouraged to be used at its full potential.

People turn up to various approaches in improving their critical thinking, like:

  • Developing technical and problem-solving skills
  • Engaging in more active listening
  • Actively questioning their assumptions and beliefs
  • Seeking out more diversity of thought
  • Opening up their curiosity in an intellectual way etc.

Is critical thinking useful in writing?

Critical thinking can help in planning your paper and making it more concise, but it's not obvious at first. We carefully pinpointed some the questions you should ask yourself when boosting critical thinking in writing:

  • What information should be included?
  • Which information resources should the author look to?
  • What degree of technical knowledge should the report assume its audience has?
  • What is the most effective way to show information?
  • How should the report be organized?
  • How should it be designed?
  • What tone and level of language difficulty should the document have?

Usage of critical thinking comes down not only to the outline of your paper, it also begs the question: How can we use critical thinking solving problems in our writing's topic?

Let's say, you have a Powerpoint on how critical thinking can reduce poverty in the United States. You'll primarily have to define critical thinking for the viewers, as well as use a lot of critical thinking questions and synonyms to get them to be familiar with your methods and start the thinking process behind it.

Are there any services that can help me use more critical thinking?

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critical thinking competency

CBSE Brings Changes In Exam Format For Classes 11 And 12 To Foster Critical Thinking And Practical Understanding

T he exams for Classes 11 and 12 from the 2024-25 session will include more competency-based questions that assess the application of concepts in real-life situations, according to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) officials who announced a change in the format.

While the percentage of competency-focused questions in the form of MCQs, case-based questions, source-based integrated questions or any other type has been increased from 40 to 50 per cent, the percentage of constructed response questions including short and long answers has been reduced from 40 to 30 per cent.

“The board in accordance with National Education Policy, 2020 has taken multiple steps towards implementation of Competency Based Education in schools, ranging from aligning assessment to competencies, development of exemplar resources for teachers and students as well as continuous capacity building of the teachers etc,” said Joseph Emanuel, Director (Academics), CBSE.

“The main emphasis of the board was to create an educational ecosystem that would move away from rote memorization and towards learning that is focused on developing the creative, critical and systems thinking capacities of students to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he added.

Emanuel said the board is continuing with aligning of the assessments and evaluation practices with NEP- 2020 for the academic session 2024-2025.

“Consequently, in the forthcoming session, the percentage of Competency Based Questions that assess application of concepts in real-life situations included in the question papers of the board has been altered,” he said.

There is no change in the exam format for Classes 9 and 10. 

CBSE Brings Changes In Exam Format For Classes 11 And 12 To Foster Critical Thinking And Practical Understanding

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  1. 10 Essential Critical Thinking Skills (And How to Improve Them

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  4. core competencies posters

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  5. Critical Thinking Skills

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  6. A Guide for Educators to Critical Thinking Competency Standards

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VIDEO

  1. Using Visual Thinking Strategies to Improve Critical Thinking and Competency Training

  2. Introduction to Critical Thinking

  3. Develop creative and critical thinking skills with Cambridge Life Competencies

  4. SNC English Grade 3 Unit 1 Reading and Critical Thinking Competency

  5. SNC English Grade 4 Unit 4 Reading and Critical Thinking Competency

  6. #MondayBoostwithCarmen

COMMENTS

  1. What Are Critical Thinking Skills and Why Are They Important?

    Critical thinking skills differ from individual to individual and are utilized in various ways. Examples of common critical thinking skills include: Identification of biases: Identifying biases means knowing there are certain people or things that may have an unfair prejudice or influence on the situation at hand. Pointing out these biases ...

  2. PDF Critical Thinking Competency Standards

    Deepening Your Understanding of the Critical Thinking Competencies .62 Critical Thinking Competency Standards 3 ©2005 Foundation for Critical Thinking www.criticalthinking.org 1 Additional competencies can be developed by teachers, faculty, and departments, competencies that focus on any specific domain, subject, or discipline.

  3. 5 Top Critical Thinking Skills (And How To Improve Them)

    Top 5 critical thinking skills. Here are five common and impactful critical thinking skills you might consider highlighting on your resume or in an interview: 1. Observation. Observational skills are the starting point for critical thinking. People who are observant can quickly sense and identify a new problem.

  4. Critical thinking skills: what they are and how to build them

    Critical thinking skills will help you connect ideas, make reasonable decisions, and solve complex problems. 7 critical thinking skills to help you dig deeper. Critical thinking is often labeled as a skill itself (you'll see it bulleted as a desired trait in a variety of job descriptions). But it's better to think of critical thinking less ...

  5. How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

    Here are 12 tips for building stronger self-awareness and learning how to improve critical thinking: 1. Be cautious. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of skepticism. One of the core principles of critical thinking is asking questions and dissecting the available information.

  6. PDF Critical Thinking Competency Standards

    The critical thinking competency standards articulated in this guide serve as a resource for teachers, curriculum designers, administrators and accrediting bodies. The use of these competencies across the curriculum will ensure that critical thinking is fostered in

  7. Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking is the discipline of rigorously and skillfully using information, experience, observation, and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions, and beliefs. You'll need to actively question every step of your thinking process to do it well. Collecting, analyzing and evaluating information is an important skill in life, and a highly ...

  8. Critical Thinking

    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 ...

  9. PDF Critical Thinking: Competency Standards Essential for the Cultivation

    The critical thinking competency standards articulated in this series exem-plify the standards needed for assessing students' critical thinking abilities. They enable administrators, teachers, and faculty to determine the extent to which students are reasoning critically within any subject or discipline.

  10. What Is Critical Thinking?

    Critical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze information and form a judgment. To think critically, you must be aware of your own biases and assumptions when encountering information, and apply consistent standards when evaluating sources. Critical thinking skills help you to: Identify credible sources. Evaluate and respond to arguments.

  11. PDF Critical Thinking: Competency Standards Essential to the ...

    for Critical Thinking. Richard Paul is Director of the Center for Critical Thinking and Director of Research of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, Tomales, CA: www.criticalthinking.org Figure 1. Competency standards essential to the cultivation of intellectual skills. JDE 35-3_120928.indd 31 9/28/2012 12:27:52 PM

  12. Critical thinking

    Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments in order to form a judgement by the application of rational, skeptical, and unbiased analyses and evaluation. The application of critical thinking includes self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective habits of the mind, thus a critical thinker is a person who practices the ...

  13. Cambridge Life Competencies: Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking is a key skill needed for everyday life. It should be applied to all aspects of a learner's studies, no matter their age or ability. It's a way of adding perspective, questioning intent and understanding ways of improving. Take a minute to watch this short video. It will help you to understand what we mean by Critical ...

  14. 6 Main Types of Critical Thinking Skills (With Examples)

    Critical thinking skills examples. There are six main skills you can develop to successfully analyze facts and situations and come up with logical conclusions: 1. Analytical thinking. Being able to properly analyze information is the most important aspect of critical thinking. This implies gathering information and interpreting it, but also ...

  15. What Are Critical Thinking Skills?

    Critical thinking skills help you process information and make rational decisions. "Critical thinking skills allow us to analyze problems from multiple angles, come up with various solutions, and make informed decisions," says Bayu Prihandito, self-development expert and certified psychology expert. "This not only saves time and resources ...

  16. PDF Critical Thinking Competency Standards

    Deepening Your Understanding of the Critical Thinking Competencies .62 Critical Thinking Competency Standards 3 ©2005 Foundation for Critical Thinking www.criticalthinking.org 1 Additional competencies can be developed by teachers, faculty, and departments, competencies that focus on any specific domain, subject, or discipline.

  17. Critical Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples

    Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings. Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information, and discriminate between useful and less useful ...

  18. Problem-solving and Critical Thinking Competencies

    Critical thinking competency is required for individuals to "discern falsehood and make reasoned arguments" (p. 1), especially for their faith; With critical thinking competency, individuals can renew minds and cultivate wisdom; With critical thinking competency, language and presentation skills are enhanced (Lau & Chan, 2021);

  19. 13 Easy Steps To Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

    6. Ask lots of open-ended questions. Curiosity is a key trait of critical thinkers, so channel your inner child and ask lots of "who," "what," and "why" questions. 7. Find your own reputable ...

  20. Critical thinking as a core competence for the future

    Nancy Njiraini University of Glasgow Scotland, UK . Abstract - The idea of learning as a transfer of knowledge pure and simple has been increasingly challenged.A complex future requires tools and abilities enabling us to respond effectively without needing to rely on others.This article explores the role of creativity, critical and independent thinking as well as core skills and competences ...

  21. Cutting-Edge Skills

    Critical Thinking Competency. Employers rate critical thinking as the most important skill they seek in job candidates. Critical thinking is the ability to "identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information. ...

  22. Using Critical Thinking in Essays and other Assignments

    Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement. Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process ...

  23. Critical Thinking: A Vital Auditing Competency

    Critical thinking is often the central ingredient necessary for providing insights that help management better manage risk and create a sustainable control environment. Most organizations consider critical thinking an indispensable skill for internal auditors. Critical thinking skills lead to improved decision-making and can result in better organizational performance.

  24. The Top Transferable Skills You Gain From Community College

    Critical thinking skills are used in a myriad of ways and can be applied to situations including approaching a class group project like deciding how to divide the work amidst your peers or creating a comprehensive study plan to achieve a good grade on your test. Whatever the situation, critical thinking is a great skill to learn during your ...

  25. Research Proposal: The impact of AI on the development of critical

    This is because critical thinking skills are the foundation for 21st-century skills, and AI-based instruction helps students learn these skills. This study helped AI-based instruction because it ...

  26. Gen AI spurs a rethink of necessary workforce skills

    Moving forward. Generative AI will boost the importance of critical thinking and communication skills—demanding that we rethink workforce skills of the future. As we continue to work with and build AI solutions, we encourage our clients to view the effort through a combination of human-centered design and traditional business rationale.

  27. CBSE Brings Changes In Exam Format For Classes 11 And 12 To ...

    The exams for Classes 11 and 12 from the 2024-25 session will include more competency-based questions that assess the application of concepts in real-life situations, according to Central Board of ...