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                      Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important concept.  There may be a
number of benefits of critical thinking.  For example, critical
thinking may help people to make more careful and wise
decisions.  Also, critical thinking may help in evaluating
scientific findings.

Critical Thinking Definition

What is critical thinking?   There may be many possible
ways to define critical thinking.  Different critical thinking
articles may have different definitions of critical thinking.   
Nonetheless, in general, critical thinking involves analyzing
assumptions.

Critical thinking can be defined as the process of  thinking
of possible explanations for outcomes and findings, and
determining how compatible the possible explanations are
with the outcomes and findings.

Thinking Like a Scientist

A person who demonstrates significant critical thinking is  
thinking like a scientist.  If you are a scientist, you evaluate
ideas and findings based on the evidence.  You will ask a
number of questions concerning the ideas.   What is the
evidence supporting the idea?  How well does the evidence
support the idea?  What are the limitations of the ideas?  
You will also ask several questions when learning about a
research finding.  Are there alternative explanations for the
finding?  What are the weaknesses of the methodology?
What are the limitations of the findings?

Critical Thinking Examples

What are some examples of critical thinking?   If you learn
that a supervisor's use of humor is correlated with how much
an employee likes his or her job, you would think of more
than one explanation for this finding.  Moreover, you would
conclude that you cannot make causal conclusions from this
finding because you are not able to rule out alternative
explanations.    Another example of critical thinking is the
conclusion that some findings from laboratory research may
not generalize to real-world situations.  You would think of
reasons why the findings would not generalize to real-world
situations.