Critical thinking in terms of problem solving

Critical thinking is the ability to gather data and make a decision based purely off of that data. It involves research, study, verification and ultimately application of the data gathered.

In terms of problem solving, critical thinking allows for you to gather information relevant to your problem and interpret the value of it. One example of critical thinking is actually rather automatic. Going back to the example of the flat tire problem: if you had a flat tire your brain would automatically begin to retrieve any relevant data relating to a flat tire. It would begin to interpret experiences and inform you of what you know about the situation.

As discussed before, if you don’t have sufficient information on the situation at hand, you won’t be able to solve the problem easily. Critical thinking is an extremely important skill to have in the process of problem solving.

So how do we improve our critical thinking ability? Well you can do it by:

-Reflecting more on your day and thinking through the choices you have made. By focusing on becoming more aware of your thought processes, you will be able to make better decisions in the future.

-Be open minded about information. Rather than holding to one viewpoint, it’s far better to look at both sides of a discussion and learn how to see the truth. Each time you analyze an argument and objectively look for truth, you are building your ability to sort through information.

-Stop when making a decision and really look at all of the factors involved. Many times we tend to let our automatic decision making processes make the choice for us, so instead of thinking critically we just default to options and decisions that we are used to.

-Learn to question assumptions that are being proposed to you. Especially when you’re in the decision making process of solving a problem, assumptions can often be present without being challenged. By learning to look for assumptions and learning to question the validity of them, you will boost your critical thinking skills for certain.


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