Critical Thinking

Critical thinking, or objectively processing and analyzing information using logic and reasoning to make informed decisions, is important.

It is important when researching a topic, gaining insights from that research, and then deciding to create, innovate, or take action based on that research and those insights. This could apply to work or to everyday life.

So basically, critical thinking is important all the time.

As someone reading this blog post, you probably are already aware of what critical thinking is and frequently use it in your work and daily life. However, you may be interested in helping others around you to improve their critical thinking skills.

We made a short, 3 minute (and 43 seconds) video on a few ways that you can do this.

Here are a few ways as mentioned in the video above that you can help others improve their critical thinking skills.

  1. Ask questions that will help the person you’re talking to to think about and evaluate the source that the data or information they are sharing comes from.
    1. For example:
      1. “Where did you find that interesting statistic about XYZ that you brought up in today’s meeting?”
      2. “That’s really interesting! Where did you find that out from?”
  2. Ask questions to help them think about and evaluate the validity of the source of the data or information that they are sharing.
    1. Such as:
      1. “I hadn’t heard of the source XYZ before. Do they have expertise in this area?”
      2. “What type of study did source XYZ do to get this data?”
      3. “What was the sample size of the study done by source XYZ?”
  3. Be a good example yourself by using good, valid, sources and cite the sources you use in reports, presentations, etc. even if it’s internal company data. For internal company data you can cite which company database you got it from or which report or filters you used to pull that data.
    1. Also, including the year of publication or date you pulled the report can be helpful. 
    2. Doing this will help others be able to better understand and evaluate for themselves if the source(s) you used are good, reliable sources or not.
  4. Avoid sharing facts, data, or information that you don’t know if it came from a reliable source or not. Don’t contribute to the spread of misleading or false information.
    1. Not everyone has developed critical thinking skills to be able to analyze for themselves if what you’re sharing is valid data, true facts, or not.
    2. If it’s a topic that interests you, or a topic that you were asked to provide information on in a meeting, presentation, report, etc. research that topic to find good, reliable data or other information from good, reliable sources on that topic to share. And be sure to cite the source.
  5. When presenting or reporting data to an audience who are researchers or have a background in statistics, etc. avoid saying that a difference, an increase, or a decrease was significant if you just mean it was important or big and not that it was found to be statistically significant.
    1. An audience who are researchers or have a background in statistics, etc. may think that you mean that the difference is statistically significant, i.e. the p-value was less than 0.05. If that’s not what you mean, then avoid saying “significant”.
    2. This helps your audience to be able to focus on, use their critical thinking skills to analyze what you are saying, presenting, reporting on, etc. and not trying to figure out if you meant it was statistically significant or not.

In conclusion, critical thinking is important in work and daily life. There are many ways you can help others to improve their critical thinking skills. We only mentioned a few in this short video.

What are some other ways that we didn’t mention that you’ve found to be useful in helping others to improve their critical thinking skills?

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