Examining Critical Thinking

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Examining The Elements of Thought & Right Questions

Participating in a changing and increasingly complex society requires citizens to process large amounts of information and to operate effectively in ambiguous and unstructured situations. Such work demands thinking and thoughtful people. (Grant, 1988, p. 36) The importance of critical thinking is directly linked to the ability to make sound, informed decisions. The results of those decisions could have a major impact not just in regards to Homeland Security, but also in a person’s daily life. There are two major methodologies of critical thinking, both being unique and similar within their own right. From Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder there are the “Elements of Thought” which are eight. While from M. Neil Browne and Stuart M Keeley comes the “Right Questions” which are ten in number.

In the “Elements of Thought” from Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Paul we find eight seemingly simple questions that should be asked in order to either make the best decision possible and/or to process the available information effectively. What is the author’s purpose? What is the author’s point of view? What assumptions are made? What are the implications? What evidence is provided? What are inferences or conclusions? What are the basic concepts? What are the key questions? (Elder & Paul, 2007) From these questions a reader, listener, or an analyst is given a template with which the critical thinking process should take place allowing the reader or listener to reach a higher level of comprehension and perhaps detecting any underlying or subliminal meanings, which may or not be present in the text or speech. Paul & Elder’s “elements” are quite simple to follow giving the analyst an unambiguous path to ascertain a greater understanding. However, the analyst may arrive at only a general, less-defined understanding using this method as opposed to the “The Right Questions”

The other...
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