Critical Thinking and
Evaluation of Sources
Critical thinking is learning to think for yourself and to develop your own independent opinions, backed by sound reasoning and support. It is learning to drop the role of passive student and to assume the role of a self reliant thinker and researcher. Critical thinking enters into important decisions in your daily life and affects your growth process in school and work. The term critical thinking describes the deliberate thinking that helps you to decide on what to believe and how to act. It helps you examine a problem or issue from many angles to arrive at the best possible solution.
Critical thinking is by no means restricted to academic matters. At certain points in our lives, we face situations in which it is not clear how we should proceed. Examples can include career choices and educational choices. The act of purchasing a car involves critical thinking to a certain degree. Without thinking carefully, you may make spur-of-the-moment decisions. In order to think critically you need to have sufficient background information concerning your subject. The information found in this chapter will assist you with the decision making process.
The Critical Thinking Process
Most personal and academic decisions require a basic critical thinking process. It is helpful to write your ideas and see them in front of you.
Determine what you hope to achieve as a result of the decision. Gather information deliberately (read up on the issue, talk to knowledgeable people), make no hasty decision. List all realistic possibilities for each choice
Consider the benefits/advantages.
Consider the disadvantages.
Foresee the worst and decide if you can live with it.
Evaluate each choice by estimating its short and long range consequences. Rank each factor in order of its importance to you, work out your priorities. Make a choice.
To learn to think independently, consider the following guidelines: Avoid making inaccurate...
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