Critical thinking is a mode/practice/process/habit of thinking that is active, purposeful, and organized. The elements of critical thinking may vary among disciplines but typically involve reasoning based on inquiry, evidence, interpretations and implications. A critical thinker considers context as well as assumptions and biases, personal and other, in making judgments. Building upon the information literacy skills or inquiry and evaluation, a critical thinker:
- Maintains a disposition that is open to change and to other perspectives
- Engages in purposeful, organized thinking
- Evaluates evidence; explores and investigates in a deliberate manner
- Exercises self- regulatory judgment
- Makes connections
1. Analysis: Identifies and examines assumptions, premises, arguments, statements, perspectives. Distinguishes belief, opinion and empirical truth.
2. Disposition: Thinks open- mindedly; willing to think critically about beliefs.
3. Assessment: Presents and assesses the quality of supporting data and empirical evidence within the context of an argument or thesis.
4. Meaningful Connections: Draws conclusions based on evidence and considers prior knowledge, context (social, political, economic, etc.) and perspectives in determining conclusions, implications or consequences.
5. Creativity: Creation or generation of ideas, processes, experiences or objects.
Dartmouth Writing Program explains their process for the development of critical thinking through writing.
Washington State University ’s Critical Thinking Project provides a critical thinking rubric which can be used as a diagnostic tool for evaluating teaching practices as well as testing student outcomes.
The Foundation for Critical Thinking provides a list of strategies to encourage active learning and critical thinking