!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: "The basics of critical thinking"

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"The basics of critical thinking"

I've seen enough non-specific references to "the basics of critical thinking," most recently in an article talking about the skills home health aides need, that I decided to hunt around for a compact statement of just what basic critical thinking skills are.

The discussion that I found most useful among those I reviewed is in a manual (pdf) the University of New South Wales provides to students in its Masters of Business and Technology program. These are the activities identified as part of bringing critical thinking to bear on one's reading and writing:
  • asking questions

  • analyzing

  • categorizing

  • synthesizing

  • evaluating

  • using appropriate evidence

  • establishing cause and effect

  • making links between ideas

  • relating theory to practice

  • making predictions

  • making and supporting a claim

  • interpreting facts according to a relevant framework
The manual also provides a straightforward critical thinking strategy ("IPSO"):

Issue — What is the problem or question being addressed?

Position — What is (are) the major position(s) put forward in this argument?

Support — What evidence, reasoning or other persuasive means back up the position(s)?

Outcome — What is likely to happen if the argument is accepted?

An extended treatment of critical thinking is available at Wikipedia.