How to Carry Out Critical Thinking Step By Step

Establish What the Problem is 

Why is it important for you to see what the problem is from the start? If you consider that you can employ resources addressing an issue only to discover you are following the wrong trail, you can see what a waste of resources that can be. Other times, if you do not first try to identify the problem, you end up spending a lot of your time and other resources, only to establish there was no problem in the first place, probably just a situation misread.  

Undertake to Analyze the Problem 

Why spend time analyzing the problem you have already identified? Simple – you want to know the exact nature of the problem, the areas of your project it is affecting, its magnitude and even your capacity to handle it. It is at this stage of analysis that you determine if the problem at hand is one you can deal with as an individual, if you require some additional assistance, if it is one a problem that can be handled instantly or if it can only be tackled at a later stage in the process, and such other matters of a fundamental nature.  

Think up Manageable Solutions 

Yes, you do not just delve into solving a problem without knowing the chances your chosen method has of working. Since you are, presumably, a serious thinker, and not an amateur trying to solve a problem on a trial and error basis, you need to weigh the options you think may work in your particular situation, and then pick the best. As someone who is looking for the best output for your project, you need not shy away from consulting, if it comes to it, as it is usually helpful to have different perspectives on the problem. Brainstorming is also very helpful.  

Choose the Best Possible Solution 

Even though there are many roads that lead to Rome, so to speak, it would be reasonable to choose the one that is the most cost effective and the one that has the least inconvenience – and then you would term it the best. Here, too, is a case where you are likely to have several possible solutions to a challenge, and you cannot, obviously, use all of them. So it is up to you to weigh what advantages each of them has over the others and how convenient the one with the most advantages is to apply – and then you can term it your best possible solution. Remember as you pick your best option it is necessary to take into account the prevailing circumstances.  

Wind Up Your Process 

How else do you wind up your process but by implementing your best solution? You cannot possibly go on searching and comparing notes, and marvelling at the wide range of choices that you have, like some people go to school and study this, and then proceed to study that and the other, and hardly get to the point of putting to use what they have learned. Remember the starting point of this process was identifying the existing problem, and you, therefore, made it your goal to look for its solution. Now you must, of necessity, take the relevant action, to see to it that the problematic issue you pointed out has been resolved. 

So, if someone were to anticipate results, would you say they should wait for a drastic change in the issue at hand? To be safe, you need to say, not necessarily. Guess what? Sometimes doctors diagnose your medical problem and, after due consideration, decide you are better off living as you are than putting you through medication, surgery or any other medical procedure. Likewise, there are some issues that are best left as they are, because any changes to them would adversely affect more people than is the case in the prevailing situation.  

In short, critical thinking can give you justification to change matters, and it can also make you see that the situation as it is remains the best possible scenario. However, even when you choose to let the issue or situation remain unaltered, you need to say as much in writing, and then state the reasons that prompted you to arrive at that conclusion. When you make your stance and reasons known, everyone concerned finds it relatively easy to accept your verdict, and to live with the situation. 

Do you think solving a particular problem is the only achievement you get after engaging in critical thinking? Gladly, it is not. For starters, all the information you learn from the process of critical thinking cannot be ignored. It is wealth that you can fall back on in the future if you are faced with a similar challenge. At the same time, you come from the task with a fresh boost of confidence, mainly emanating from the fact that you understand the issue at hand from all possible perspectives. So whatever the project is about, there is no fear that something untoward can crop up and take you by surprise.  

Finally, the more informed you are and the more you have practically analyzed and tested scenarios, the more resourceful you become, even to people around you. And even if there was no challenge in the foreseeable future, who says there is harm in keeping your skills sharpened and your wits about you?  


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