critical thinking

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critical thinking
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{{short description|The analysis of facts to form a judgment}}(File:Head of Socrates in Palazzo Massimo alle Terme (Rome).JPG|thumb|Sculpture of Socrates){{Use dmy dates|date=April 2012}}Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgement.WEB,weblink Defining Critical Thinking, The International Center for the Assessment of Higher Order Thinking (ICAT, US)/Critical Thinking Community, 2017-03-22, Edward M. Glaser, The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrismWEB,weblink Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development,, en-us, 2018-04-03, WEB,weblink It's a Fine Line Between Narcissism and Egocentrism, Psychology Today, en, 2018-04-03, and sociocentrism.


The earliest documentation of critical thinking are the teachings of Socrates recorded by Plato. Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief.He established the importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well. His method of questioning is now known as "Socratic questioning" and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy. In his mode of questioning, Socrates highlighted the need for thinking for clarity and logical consistency. Socrates asked people questions to reveal their irrational thinking or lack of reliable knowledge. Socrates demonstrated that having authority does not ensure accurate knowledge. He established the method of questioning beliefs, closely inspecting assumptions and relying on evidence and sound rationale. Plato recorded Socrates' teachings and carried on the tradition of critical thinking. Aristotle and subsequent Greek skeptics refined Socrates' teachings, using systematic thinking and asking questions to ascertain the true nature of reality beyond the way things appear from a glance.WEB,weblink A Brief History of the Idea of Critical Thinking,, en, 2018-03-14, Socrates set the agenda for the tradition of critical thinking, namely, to reflectively question common beliefs and explanations, carefully distinguishing beliefs that are reasonable and logical from those that—however appealing to our native egocentrism, however much they serve our vested interests, however comfortable or comforting they may be—lack adequate evidence or rational foundation to warrant belief.Critical thinking was described by Richard W. Paul as a movement in two waves (1994).BOOK, Re-Thinking Reason, Walters, Kerry, State University of New York Press, 1994, Albany, 181–98, The "first wave" of critical thinking is often referred to asa 'critical analysis' that is clear, rational thinking involving critique. Its details vary amongst those who define it. According to Barry K. Beyer (1995), critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.WEB,weblink The Critical Thinking Movement: Alternating Currents in One Teacher's Thinking, James R., Elkins, 23 March 2014,,weblink" title="">weblink 13 June 2018, dead, The U.S. National Council for Excellence in Critical ThinkingWEB,weblink, Critical Thinking Index Page, defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."WEB,, Defining Critical Thinking,


In the term critical thinking, the word (wikt:critical|critical), (Grk. κριτικός = kritikos = "critic") derives from the word critic and implies a critique; it identifies the intellectual capacity and the means "of judging", "of judgement", "for judging", and of being "able to discern".Brown, Lesley. (ed.) The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993) p. 551. The intellectual roots of criticalNEWS,weblink Lexical Investigations: Critical Thinking - Everything After Z by, 2013-06-25, Everything After Z by, 2018-04-03, en-US, thinking are as ancient as its etymology, traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practice and vision of SocratesWEB,weblink Socrates, Biography, en-us, 2018-04-03, 2,500 years ago who discovered by a method of probing questioning that people could not rationally justify their confident claims to knowledge.


Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows:
  • "The process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion"WEB,weblink Critical – Define Critical at,, 2016-02-24,
  • "Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence"
  • "Purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based"WEB,weblink PDF, Facione, Peter A., Critical Thinking: What It is and Why It Counts,, 2011, 26, 4 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 29 July 2013, dead, dmy-all,
  • "Includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs"JOURNAL, Mulnix, J. W., 2010, Thinking critically about critical thinking, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44, 5, 471, 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00673.x,
  • The skill and propensity to engage in an activity with reflective scepticism (McPeck, 1981)WEB,weblink Critical Thinking: A Question of Aptitude and Attitude?, 22 March 2018,
  • Thinking about one's thinking in a manner designed to organize and clarify, raise the efficiency of, and recognize errors and biases in one's own thinking. Critical thinking is not 'hard' thinking nor is it directed at solving problems (other than 'improving' one's own thinking). Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality of the thinker. One does not use critical thinking to solve problems—one uses critical thinking to improve one's process of thinking.Carmichael, Kirby; letter to Olivetti, Laguna Salada Union School District, May 1997.
  • "An appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation"NEWS,weblink critical analysis,, 2016-11-30,
Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness. Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.BOOK, Re-Thinking Reason, Walters, Kerry, State University of New York Press, 1994, Albany,

Logic and rationality

{{more citations needed section|date=November 2016|reason=need to follow standard wikipedia reference style}}{{Cleanup section|reason=Poor grammar.|date=January 2019}}The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking."First wave" logical thinking consisted of understanding the connections between two concepts or points in thought. It followed a philosophy where the thinker was removed from the train of thought and the connections and the analysis of the connect was devoid of any bias of the thinker. Kerry Walters describes this ideology in his essay Beyond Logicism in Critical Thinking, "A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal (and, to a lesser extent, formal) logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective. This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon". The adoption of these principals parallels themselves with the increasing reliance on a quantitative understanding of the world.In the ‘second wave’ of critical thinking, as defined by Kerry S. Walters (Re-thinking Reason, 1994, p. 1), many authors moved away from the logocentric mode of critical thinking that the ‘first wave’ privileged, especially in institutions of higher learning. Walters summarizes logicism as "the unwarranted assumption that good thinking is reducible to logical thinking"."A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal (and, to a lesser extent, formal) logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective."As the ‘second wave’ took hold, scholars began to take a more inclusive view of what constituted as critical thinking. Rationality and logic are still widely accepted in many circles as the primary examples of critical thinking.

Deduction, abduction and induction

There are three types of logical reasoning. Informally, two kinds of logical reasoning can be distinguished in addition to formal deduction: induction and abduction.


e.g., X is human and all humans have a face so X has a face.


  • Induction is drawing a conclusion from a pattern that is guaranteed by the strictness of the structure to which it applies.
e.g. The sum of even integers is even.Let x,y,z in mathbb{Z} then 2x,2y,2z are even by definition. 2x+2y=2(x+y)=2z which is even so summing two even numbers results in an even number.


  • Abduction is drawing a conclusion using a heuristic that is likely, but not inevitable given some foreknowledge.

e.g., I observe sheep in a field, and they appear white from my viewing angle, so sheep are white.
Contrast with the deductive statement:"Some sheep are white on at least one side."

Critical thinking and rationality

Kerry S. Walters (Re-thinking Reason, 1994) argues that rationality demands more than just logical or traditional methods of problem solving and analysis or what he calls the "calculus of justification" but also considers "cognitive acts such as imagination, conceptual creativity, intuition and insight" (p. 63). These "functions" are focused on discovery, on more abstract processes instead of linear, rules-based approaches to problem-solving. The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind.BOOK, Kerry S. Walters, Re-Thinking Reason: New Perspectives in Critical Thinking,weblink 1994, SUNY Press, 978-0-7914-2095-9, The ability to critically analyze an argument – to dissect structure and components, thesis and reasons – is essential. But so is the ability to be flexible and consider non-traditional alternatives and perspectives. These complementary functions are what allow for critical thinking to be a practice encompassing imagination and intuition in cooperation with traditional modes of deductive inquiry.


The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and metacognition. According to Reynolds (2011), an individual or group engaged in a strong way of critical thinking gives due consideration to establish for instance:Reynolds, Martin (2011). Critical thinking and systems thinking: towards a critical literacy for systems thinking in practice. In: Horvath, Christopher P. and Forte, James M. eds. Critical Thinking. New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 37–68.
  • Evidence through reality
  • Context skills to isolate the problem from context
  • Relevant criteria for making the judgment well
  • Applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment
  • Applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand
In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness.BOOK, Jones, Elizabeth A., & And Others, 1995, National Assessment of College Student Learning: Identifying College Graduates' Essential Skills in Writing, Speech and Listening, and Critical Thinking. Final Project Report (NCES-95-001), 978-0-16-048051-5, from National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, University Park, PA.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.; U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328. PUB TYPE - Reports Research/Technical (143) pp. 14–15,weblink 2016-02-24, Critical thinking calls for the ability to:
  • Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems
  • Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving
  • Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information
  • Recognize unstated assumptions and values
  • Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and (wikt:discernment|discernment)
  • Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments
  • Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions
  • Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations
  • Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives
  • Reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience
  • Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life
In sum:"A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports or refutes it and the further conclusions to which it tends."BOOK, An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Edward M. Glaser, 1941, New York, Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 978-0-404-55843-7,

Habits or traits of mind

The habits of mind that characterize a person strongly disposed toward critical thinking include a desire to follow reason and evidence wherever they may lead, a systematic approach to problem solving, inquisitiveness, even-handedness, and confidence in reasoning.The National Assessment of College Student Learning: Identification of the Skills to be Taught, Learned, and Assessed, NCES 94–286, US Dept of Education, Addison Greenwood (Ed), Sal Carrallo (PI). See also, Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. ERIC Document No. ED 315–423According to a definition analysis by Kompf & Bond (2001), critical thinking involves problem solving, decision making, metacognition,WEB,weblink Teaching Metacognition, Metacognition, en-US, 2018-04-03, rationality, rational thinking, reasoning, knowledge, intelligence and also a moral component such as reflective thinking. Critical thinkers therefore need to have reached a level of maturity in their development, possess a certain attitude as well as a set of taught skills.


Edward M. Glaser proposed that the ability to think critically involves three elements:
  1. An attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences
  2. Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning
  3. Some skill in applying those methods.
Educational programs aimed at developing critical thinking in children and adult learners, individually or in group problem solving and decision making contexts, continue to address these same three central elements.The Critical Thinking project at Human Science Lab, London, is involved in scientific study of all major educational system in prevalence today to assess how the systems are working to promote or impede critical thinking.WEB,weblink Research at Human Science Lab, Human Science Lab, 5 March 2017, Contemporary cognitive psychology regards human reasoning as a complex process that is both reactive and reflective.Solomon, S.A. (2002) "Two Systems of Reasoning," in Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment, Govitch, Griffin, Kahneman (Eds), Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|978-0-521-79679-8}}; Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making: The Method of Argument and Heuristic Analysis, Facione and Facione, 2007, California Academic Press. {{ISBN|978-1-891557-58-3}} This presents a problem which is detailed as a division of a critical mind in juxtaposition to sensory data and memory.The psychological theory disposes the absolute nature of the rational mind, in reference to conditions, abstract problems and discursive limitation. Where the relationship between critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions is an empirical question, the ability to attain causal domination exists, for which Socrates was known to be largely disposed against as the practice of Sophistry. Accounting for a measure of "critical thinking dispositions" is the California Measure of Mental MotivationResearch on Sociocultural Influences on Motivation and Learning, p. 46 and the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory.JOURNAL, Walsh, Catherine, M., 2007, California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory: Further Factor Analytic Examination, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104, 1, 141–151, 10.2466/pms.104.1.141-151, 17450973, The Critical Thinking Toolkit is an alternative measure that examines student beliefs and attitudes about critical thinkingStupple, E. J. N., Maratos, F. A., Elander, J., Hunt, T. E., Cheung, K. Y., & Aubeeluck, A. V. (2017). Development of the Critical Thinking Toolkit (CriTT): A measure of student attitudes and beliefs about critical thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 23, 91-100.


John Dewey is one of many educational leaders who recognized that a curriculum aimed at building thinking skills would benefit the individual learner, the community, and the entire democracy.Dewey, John. (1910). How we think. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath & Co.Critical thinking is significant in academics due to being significant in learning. Critical thinking is significant in the learning process of internalization, in the construction of basic ideas, principles, and theories inherent in content. And critical thinking is significant in the learning process of application, whereby those ideas, principles, and theories are implemented effectively as they become relevant in learners' lives.Each discipline adapts its use of critical thinking concepts and principles. The core concepts are always there, but they are embedded in subject-specific content. For students to learn content, intellectual engagement is crucial. All students must do their own thinking, their own construction of knowledge. Good teachers recognize this and therefore focus on the questions, readings, activities that stimulate the mind to take ownership of key concepts and principles underlying the subject.Historically, teaching of critical thinking focused only on logical procedures such as formal and informal logic. This emphasized to students that good thinking is equivalent to logical thinking. However, a second wave of critical thinking, urges educators to value conventional techniques, meanwhile expanding what it means to be a critical thinker. In 1994, Kerry WaltersWalters, Kerry. (1994). Re-Thinking Reason. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. compiled a conglomeration of sources surpassing this logical restriction to include many different authors’ research regarding connected knowing, empathy, gender-sensitive ideals, collaboration, world views, intellectual autonomy, morality and enlightenment. These concepts invite students to incorporate their own perspectives and experiences into their thinking.In the English and Welsh school systems, Critical Thinking is offered as a subject that 16- to 18-year-olds can take as an A-Level. Under the OCR exam board, students can sit two exam papers for the AS: "Credibility of Evidence" and "Assessing and Developing Argument". The full Advanced GCE is now available: in addition to the two AS units, candidates sit the two papers "Resolution of Dilemmas" and "Critical Reasoning". The A-level tests candidates on their ability to think critically about, and analyze, arguments on their deductive or inductive validity, as well as producing their own arguments. It also tests their ability to analyze certain related topics such as credibility and ethical decision-making. However, due to its comparative lack of subject content, many universities do not accept it as a main A-level for admissions.Critical Thinking FAQs from Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations {{webarchive |url= |date=11 April 2008 }} Nevertheless, the AS is often useful in developing reasoning skills, and the full Advanced GCE is useful for degree courses in politics, philosophy, history or theology, providing the skills required for critical analysis that are useful, for example, in biblical study.There used to also be an Advanced Extension Award offered in Critical Thinking in the UK, open to any A-level student regardless of whether they have the Critical Thinking A-level. Cambridge International Examinations have an A-level in Thinking Skills.WEB,weblink Cambridge International AS and A Level subjects, From 2008, Assessment and Qualifications Alliance has also been offering an A-level Critical Thinking specification."New GCEs for 2008", Assessment and Qualifications Alliance {{webarchive |url= |date=17 February 2008 }}OCR exam board have also modified theirs for 2008. Many examinations for university entrance set by universities, on top of A-level examinations, also include a critical thinking component, such as the LNAT, the UKCAT, the BioMedical Admissions Test and the Thinking Skills Assessment.In Qatar, critical thinking was offered by AL-Bairaq—an outreach, non-traditional educational program that targets high school students and focuses on a curriculum based on STEM fields. The idea behind AL-Bairaq is to offer high school students the opportunity to connect with the research environment in the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) at Qatar University. Faculty members train and mentor the students and help develop and enhance their critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.WEB,weblink 5 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink Welcome to Al-Bairaq World, 19 April 2014, {{failed verification|date=November 2016}}


In 1995, a meta-analysis of the literature on teaching effectiveness in higher education was undertaken.Lion Gardiner, Redesigning Higher Education: Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning, in conjunction with: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, 1995The study noted concerns from higher education, politicians, and business that higher education was failing to meet society's requirements for well-educated citizens. It concluded that although faculty may aspire to develop students' thinking skills, in practice they have tended to aim at facts and concepts utilizing lowest levels of cognition, rather than developing intellect or values.In a more recent meta-analysis, researchers reviewed 341 quasi- or true-experimental studies, all of which used some form of standardized critical thinking measure to assess the outcome variable.Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Waddington, D. I., Wade, C. A., & Persson, T. (2014). Strategies for Teaching Students to Think Critically: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 1–40 The authors describe the various methodological approaches and attempt to categorize the differing assessment tools, which include standardized tests (and second-source measures), tests developed by teachers, tests developed by researchers, and tests developed by teachers who also serve the role as the researcher. The results emphasized the need for exposing students to real-world problems and the importance in encouraging open dialogue within a supportive environment. Effective strategies for teaching critical thinking are thought to be possible in a wide variety of educational settings. One attempt to assess the humanities' role in teaching critical thinking and reducing belief in pseudoscientific claims was made at North Carolina State University. Some success was noted and the researchers emphasized the value of the humanities in providing the skills to evaluate current events and qualitative data in context.JOURNAL, Frazier, Kendrick, Kendrick Frazier, Humanities, Too: In New Study, History Courses in Critical Thinking Reduce Pseudoscientific Beliefs, Skeptical Inquirer, 2017, 41, 4, 11, Scott Lilienfeld notes that there is some evidence to suggest that basic critical thinking skills might be successfully taught to children at a younger age than previously thought.JOURNAL, Lilienfeld, Scott, Scott Lilienfeld, Teaching Skepticism: How Early Can We Begin?, Skeptical Inquirer, 2017, 41, 5, 30–31,weblinkweblink dead, 2018-08-10,

Importance in academics

Critical thinking is an important element of all professional fields and academic disciplines (by referencing their respective sets of permissible questions, evidence sources, criteria, etc.). Within the framework of scientific skepticism, the process of critical thinking involves the careful acquisition and interpretation of information and use of it to reach a well-justified conclusion. The concepts and principles of critical thinking can be applied to any context or case but only by reflecting upon the nature of that application. Critical thinking forms, therefore, a system of related, and overlapping, modes of thought such as anthropological thinking, sociological thinking, historical thinking, political thinking, psychological thinking, philosophical thinking, mathematical thinking, chemical thinking, biological thinking, ecological thinking, legal thinking, ethical thinking, musical thinking, thinking like a painter, sculptor, engineer, business person, etc. In other words, though critical thinking principles are universal, their application to disciplines requires a process of reflective contextualization.Critical thinking is considered important in the academic fields for enabling one to analyze, evaluate, explain, and restructure thinking, thereby ensuring the act of thinking without false belief. However, even with knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, mistakes occur, and due to a thinker's inability to apply the methodology consistently, and because of overruling character traits such as egocentrism. Critical thinking includes identification of prejudice, bias, propaganda, self-deception, distortion, misinformation, etc.WEB,weblink [F08] Cognitive biases, Lau, Joe, Chan, Jonathan, Critical thinking web, 2016-02-01, Given research in cognitive psychology, some educators believe that schools should focus on teaching their students critical thinking skills and cultivation of intellectual traits.WEB,weblink Critical Thinking, Moral Integrity and Citizenship,, 2016-02-01, Critical thinking skills can be used to help nurses during the assessment process. Through the use of critical thinking, nurses can question, evaluate, and reconstruct the nursing care process by challenging the established theory and practice. Critical thinking skills can help nurses problem solve, reflect, and make a conclusive decision about the current situation they face. Critical thinking creates "new possibilities for the development of the nursing knowledge."Catching the wave: understanding the concept of critical thinking (1999) {{DOI|10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.00925.x}} Due to the sociocultural, environmental, and political issues that are affecting healthcare delivery, it would be helpful to embody new techniques in nursing. Nurses can also engage their critical thinking skills through the Socratic method of dialogue and reflection. This practice standard is even part of some regulatory organizations such as the College of Nurses of Ontario – Professional Standards for Continuing Competencies (2006).College of Nurses of Ontario – Professional Standards forContinuing Competencies (2006) {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 September 2014 }}It requires nurses to engage in Reflective Practice and keep records of this continued professional development for possible review by the College.Critical thinking is also considered important for human rights education for toleration. The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance adopted by UNESCO in 1995 affirms that "education for tolerance could aim at countering factors that lead to fear and exclusion of others, and could help young people to develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning."WEB, UNESCO, International Day for Tolerance . Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, Article 4, 3,weblink 2016-02-24, Critical thinking is used as a way of deciding whether a claim is true, partially true, or false. It is a tool by which one can come about reasoned conclusions based on a reasoned process.

In computer-mediated communication

The advent and rising popularity of online courses has prompted some to ask if computer-mediated communication (CMC) promotes, hinders, or has no effect on the amount and quality of critical thinking in a course (relative to face-to-face communication). There is some evidence to suggest a fourth, more nuanced possibility: that CMC may promote some aspects of critical thinking but hinder others. For example, Guiller et al. (2008)JOURNAL, Guiller, Jane, Durndell, Alan, Ross, Anne, Peer interaction and critical thinking: Face-to-face or online discussion?, Learning and Instruction, 2008, 18, 2, 187–200, 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2007.03.001, found that, relative to face-to-face discourse, online discourse featured more justifications, while face-to-face discourse featured more instances of students expanding on what others had said. The increase in justifications may be due to the asynchronous nature of online discussions, while the increase in expanding comments may be due to the spontaneity of ‘real time’ discussion. Newman et al. (1995)JOURNAL, Newman, D R, Webb, Brian, Cochrane, Clive, A content analysis method to measure critical thinking in face-to-face and computer supported group learning, Interpersonal Computing and Technology, 1995, 3, September 1993, 56–77, 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04569.x, 18352969, showed similar differential effects. They found that while CMC boasted more important statements and linking of ideas, it lacked novelty. The authors suggest that this may be due to difficulties participating in a brainstorming-style activity in an asynchronous environment. Rather, the asynchrony may promote users to put forth “considered, thought out contributions.”Researchers assessing critical thinking in online discussion forums often employ a technique called Content Analysis, where the text of online discourse (or the transcription of face-to-face discourse) is systematically coded for different kinds of statements relating to critical thinking. For example, a statement might be coded as “Discuss ambiguities to clear them up” or “Welcoming outside knowledge” as positive indicators of critical thinking. Conversely, statements reflecting poor critical thinking may be labeled as “Sticking to prejudice or assumptions” or “Squashing attempts to bring in outside knowledge.” The frequency of these codes in CMC and face-to-face discourse can be compared to draw conclusions about the quality of critical thinking.Searching for evidence of critical thinking in discourse has roots in a definition of critical thinking put forth by Kuhn (1991),BOOK, Kuhn, D, The skills of argument, 1991, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, which emphasizes the social nature of discussion and knowledge construction. There is limited research on the role of social experience in critical thinking development, but there is some evidence to suggest it is an important factor. For example, research has shown that 3- to 4-year-old children can discern, to some extent, the differential creditabilityJOURNAL, Koenig, M A, Harris, P L, Preschoolers mistrust ignorant and inaccurate speakers, Child Development, 2005, 76, 6, 1261–77, 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00849.x, 16274439,, and expertiseJOURNAL, Lutz, D J, Keil, F C, Early understanding of the division of cognitive labor, Child Development, 2002, 73, 4, 1073–84, 10.1111/1467-8624.00458, 12146734, of individuals. Further evidence for the impact of social experience on the development of critical thinking skills comes from work that found that 6- to 7-year-olds from China have similar levels of skepticism to 10- and 11-year-olds in the United States.JOURNAL, Heyman, G D, Fu, G, Lee, K, Evaluating claims peoplemake about themselves: The development of skepticism, Child Development, 2007, 78, 2, 367–75, 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01003.x, 17381778, 2570105, If the development of critical thinking skills was solely due to maturation, it is unlikely we would see such dramatic differences across cultures.

See also

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Further reading

{{Library resources box |others=no}}
  • Cederblom, J & Paulsen, D.W. (2006) Critical Reasoning: Understanding and criticizing arguments and theories, 6th edn. (Belmont, CA, ThomsonWadsworth).
  • College of Nurses of Ontario Professional Standards (2006) – weblink" title="">Continuing Competencies
  • Damer, T. Edward. (2005) Attacking Faulty Reasoning, 6th Edition, Wadsworth. {{ISBN|0-534-60516-8}}
  • Dauer, Francis Watanabe. Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning, 1989, {{ISBN|978-0-19-504884-1}}
  • Facione, P. 2007. weblink" title="">Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts – 2007 Update
  • Fisher, Alec and Scriven, Michael. (1997) Critical Thinking: Its Definition and Assessment, Center for Research in Critical Thinking (UK) / Edgepress (US). {{ISBN|0-9531796-0-5}}
  • Hamby, B.W. (2007) The Philosophy of Anything: Critical Thinking in Context. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque Iowa. {{ISBN|978-0-7575-4724-9}}
  • Vincent F. Hendricks. (2005) Thought 2 Talk: A Crash Course in Reflection and Expression, New York: Automatic Press / VIP. {{ISBN|87-991013-7-8}}
  • Kompf, M., & Bond, R. (2001). Critical reflection in adult education. In T. Barer-Stein & M. Kompf(Eds.), The craft of teaching adults (pp. 21–38). Toronto, ON: Irwin.
  • McPeck, J. (1992). Thoughts on subject specificity. In S. Norris (Ed.), The generalizability of critical thinking (pp. 198–205). New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Moore, Brooke Noel and Parker, Richard. (2012) Critical Thinking. 10th ed. Published by McGraw-Hill. {{ISBN|0-07-803828-6}}.
  • JOURNAL, Mulnix, J. W., 2010, Thinking critically about critical thinking, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44, 5, 464–479, 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00673.x,
  • JOURNAL, Paul, R, 1982, Teaching critical thinking in the strong sense: A focus on self-deception, world views and a dialectical mode of analysis, Informal Logic Newsletter, 4, 2, 2–7,
  • Paul, Richard. (1995) Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World. 4th ed. Foundation for Critical Thinking. {{ISBN|0-944583-09-1}}.
  • Paul, Richard and Elder, Linda. (2006) Critical Thinking Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Publishing. {{ISBN|0-13-114962-8}}.
  • Paul, Richard; Elder, Linda. (2002) Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. Published by Financial Times Prentice Hall. {{ISBN|0-13-064760-8}}.
  • JOURNAL, Pavlidis, Periklis, 2010, Critical Thinking as Dialectics: a Hegelian–Marxist Approach,weblink Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 8, 2,
  • Sagan, Carl. (1995) (The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark). Ballantine Books. {{ISBN|0-345-40946-9}}
  • Theodore Schick & Lewis Vaughn "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age" (2010) {{ISBN|0-7674-2048-9}}
  • Twardy, Charles R. (2003) Argument Maps Improve Critical Thinking. Teaching Philosophy 27:2 June 2004.
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  • Zeigarnik, B.V. (1927). On finished and unfinished tasks. In English translation Edited by Willis D. Ellis; with an introduction by Kurt Koffka. (1997). A source book of gestalt psychology xiv, 403 p. : ill.; 22 cmHighland, N.Y: Gestalt Journal Press. "This Gestalt Journal Press edition is a verbatim reprint of the book as originally published in 1938" – T.p. verso. {{ISBN|9780939266302}}. {{OCLC|38755142}}

External links

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