Critical thinking is your ability to make good judgments and analyze things from a deeper perspective. Therefore, Critical thinkers have the tendency to question everything and seek to know about things in detail. If you wish to become a critical thinker, you should never stop your inquisitive self to accept anything without applying your power of logic and reasoning. Moreover, every opinion of yours should be filtered through an evaluative and analytical process, which is meant to answer the how’s and why’s of every aspect. It is important to highlight the fact that critical thinking is not a skill which you get to develop in an instant of time, instead, it takes years of practice for you to inculcate critical thinking.
Additionally, it counts as a definite step towards self improvement, as this process allows you to know your skills better and introduce you to the gaps, you need to fill for improvising yourself.
To tell you in detail, there are 8 elemental steps to critical thinking, which when practiced over time, can help you to instill a critical thinking mind-set.
The first elemental step to critical thinking is to analyze the situation. To begin this process of inspection, you have to untie all the knots and look at the matter with a neutral vision. In other words, during the process of analyzing, you should not let your mind get overpowered by any idea, which may restrict your thought process. Having an open and broad mind-set lays the foundation of a crucial process of segmenting the situation into simple fragments. After this, you can analyze all these factors one by one. For instance, the situation is that you find it difficult to concentrate on your studies. Now, you have to conduct a neutral analysis of the situation. This means that you can’t simply say studying itself is a boring activity. Instead, you have to take a leap forward towards thinking about how you can make it an interesting activity for yourself.
Identification of the issue:
After analyzing, the second elemental step to critical thinking is- identifying the issue which demands your attention. It means that by conducting a detailed investigation, you have to identify the segment, working on which can help you derive better results. Let us consider the same example of lack of concentration while studying. At this step, you have to list some factors which may be responsible for the distraction such as lack of interest, wanting to play and craving to sleep. Now, from among all these factors you have to identify the one which is currently affecting your concentration.
The next and third step to critical thinking is- gathering information. You perform the processes of analysis and identification to proceed to this step. You have to gather all the information about solving the issue which you have determined, in order to begin working on it. Most importantly, you have to make sure that the information you receive is from a reliable source. To ensure this, you can visit websites, blogs or YouTube channels which are renowned for credibility of their content.
Studying the information:
Now, you have to study the huge volumes of data which you have collected. This is the fourth elemental step to critical thinking. The examination of information is with the motive to attain knowledge on the issue which you have highlighted, in the best possible manner. Therefore, while studying data, you have to keep in mind that you have a pin- pointed focus and don’t miss any detail.
Connecting the dots (forming structure):
To process information in a better manner, it is crucial for you to connect the dots and form a meaningful structure of data, you have collected in the previous step, to understand it in a better manner. Thus, it is the fifth elemental step to critical thinking. To form a comprehension of the information taken, you can choose to draw flow-charts, mind- maps or diagrammatic representations. Once you have built an efficient model of data, you can use it to sum up whatever you have learnt and derive a result, which suits your requirements in the best possible manner.
Apply the achieved results:
Let us consider that you find that listening to instrumental music may work for you to increase your concentration level while studying. Now, this finding is helpful only if you administer it to use. Thus, sixth elemental step to critical thinking is applying the achieved results in practice. Therefore, you have to search for some instrumental music audios which you can play while studying.
Gathering the feedback:
It is crucial for you to gather feedback, in order to close the loop of your critical thinking process. Once you start implementing the result, you can realize if it turns out to be effective or not. This is what is included in the seventh step to critical thinking. You have to reflect upon yourself and assess deeply if the outcome has proven to be valuable for you or not. This implies that you have to dive deep inside yourself and find out if listening to instrumental music is actually being helpful to you or not.
Acting as per the feedback:
This is the eighth elemental step to critical thinking. If in case your feedback approves the finding to be successful in fulfilling your requirements, then you can continue using it in practice. On the other hand, if it fails to help you out, you can proceed towards searching for another outcome which may satisfy your needs. In order to derive another result which may prove out to be beneficial for you, you don’t have to follow the entire process all over again. You just have to jump to step five, which is: connecting all the dots in a systematic manner. You can re-consider the model which you have developed and amend the result considering other suitable options which you had listed in the structure.
To conclude, it is essential for you to practice all the elemental steps to critical thinking in order to derive meaningful results. Once you learn to apply these steps well, you can easily make judgments and make good decisions, as a critical thinker.