Critical Thinking Study Guide

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Despite hearing so much about critical thinking all these years, I realized that I still couldn’t give a concrete definition of it, and I certainly couldn’t explain how to do it.

It seemed like something that my teachers just expected us to pick up in the course of our studies.

What they will expect, though, is for you to be able to think; to know how to make connections between ideas and evaluate information critically.

And now that I’m in college, my professors often mention that the ability to think through and solve difficult problems matters more in the “real world” than specific content.

Don’t get so bogged down in research and reading that you forget to think for yourself–sometimes this can be your most powerful tool.

Writing about Einstein’s paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” (the paper that contained the famous equation ), C. Snow observed that “it was as if Einstein ‘had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others.There’s no reason to start solving a problem from scratch when someone has already laid the groundwork.It’s important, however, to evaluate this information critically, or else you can easily reach the wrong conclusion.This was beneficial to humans when we were hunting large game and fighting off wild animals, but it can be disastrous when we’re trying to decide who to vote for.A critical thinker is aware of their cognitive biases and personal prejudices and how they influence seemingly “objective” decisions and solutions. Becoming aware of them is what makes critical thinking possible.To avoid this, continually go back to the basic questions you asked when you set out to solve the problem.Here are a few key basic question you can ask when approaching any problem: The above saying holds true when you’re thinking through a problem.Ask the following questions of any evidence you encounter: Take, for example, a study showing the health benefits of a sugary cereal. That is, until you learn that a sugary cereal company funded it.You can’t automatically assume that this invalidates the study’s results, but you should certainly question them when a conflict of interests is so apparent.Once you get out into the real world, critical thinking matters even more.This is because: With a proper productivity system, nothing ever slips through the cracks.

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