Critical thinking is associated with various methods and the definition will vary. A business student will look at critical thinking differently from a psychology student. The definition has changed quite a bit over the years; it can be simple and direct, as looking at a situation and asking specific questions and coming up with a conclusion. Educator Diane Halpern’s definition, “Critical thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a positive outcome.” Critical thinking is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and is goal directed - the kind of thinking involved in problem solving, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions. Critical thinking also involves evaluating the thinking process - the reasoning and factors considered before making a decision. Critical thinking is sometimes called directed thinking because it focuses on a desired outcome (Petress, 2004, p. 463).
People are not born critical thinkers nor do they inherit critical thinking skills; critical thinking is something that comes along as they evolve. Critical thinking skills are problem solving skills that seem to go deeper, examining the ins and outs of a certain situation. One is always processing information and debating certain situations, this is part of the critical thinking process. Critical thinking consists of processes and actions:
1. Analyzing tasks
2. Identifying assumptions
3. Analyzing and classifying
4. Making comparisons
5. Problem solving
6. Analyzing tasks
7. Questioning and challenging ideas
8. Observing facts, comparing them to hypotheses and assumptions
9. Judging the validity of the source and the worth of evidence
10. Forming opinions/ arguments
11. Making connections between ideas, texts, theories, frameworks, disciplines
12. Evaluating and weighing up
13. Drawing inferences
14. Making generalizations
The scientific method can be related to math and science courses. Math and science has methods to their solutions. One can perform these methods to come up with conclusions to a question or a hypothesis. Programs pertaining to critical thinking were designed by scientist and were directed toward improving the thought process in humanities and social studies.
The value of learning critical thinking and the science behind the method is powerful. This method can produce other thoughts and answer to new and current questions and critical thinking is the most powerful method invented by humans to obtain relevant and reliable knowledge. This is also known as justified truth belief; thoughts which may be accurate because the facts that were obtained were justified by reliable resources. (Schafersman, 1991)
Other methods which have...