Critical thinking is the ability to mentally process situations and analyze ideas to reach the desired answer. This is the process of evaluating situations and not depending on formal answers but digging deep into matters to arrive at a better, more suitable solution or answer.
Problem-solving is the product of critical thinking. Why do you go through the stress of taking time to think and analyze situations if not for arriving at a better and more reliable solution to issues? To be a good critical thinker and a problem solver, you must not be the type of person who runs into making wrong decisions. To do that, you must possess good analytic skill, good reasoning faculty, good evaluative ability, and finally precise decision-making ability. Until these are put in place, you cannot be a problem solver. This means that critical thinking is the foundation of problem-solving, and the main goal of critical thinking is problem-solving. They are interwoven, i.e. they are linked with each other.
Critical thinking involves discovering and analyzing each situation to find the best possible solution to overcome whatever issue on the ground. Most of the time, we don’t think well before making decisions or make quick wrong decisions and then try to defend them later. We are programmed to choose the solutions that favor us the most or the one that society will not criticize.
STEPS INVOLVED IN CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
- Identify the problem: This is the first step to critical thinking and problem-solving. If the problem is not identified, the solution proffered may be useless.
- Define the problem: Analyzing the problem is the next thing to do after identifying the problem.
- Develop a strategy: This is going to the drawing board and developing strategies for solving the problem. This is one of the most important steps. It requires a great deal of knowledge and the ability to think quickly. Whatever solution you have on deck is what you will work with, so you must pay attention to this step.
- Gather information: After developing strategies for how you will solve this problem, you must gather the necessary information. You must gather as much information as you can, and this will help you eliminate irrelevant information.
- Start the problem-solving process: Once you are done with all the steps above, the next thing is to start the problem-solving process.
- Monitor the progress: When running multiple ads online, you monitor which ads are more productive. The same thing is done when you start the problem-solving process. You monitor the progress to know what is going on and determine if there would be a need to pause, stop, or adjust the process.
- Evaluate the results: The last step is to evaluate the results you get from the process to determine the best possible solution.
8 STANDARDS OF CRITICAL THINKING
- Clarity: Clarity is an important standard of critical thinking. Someone may have a good idea, but the communication might be wrong and confusing. If words and ideas conveyed are not clear, it might create arguments instead of solving problems. This includes careful use of words and sentences. For example, when you use the word MORALITY, some people might understand it as the normal way a community or area should be, while others might interpret it in a cultural or religious way. Defining your terms can be of great help in the quest for clarity.
- Precision: This is bringing every situation under your control by analyzing the wrongs and rights, or every answer and solution you have on the ground. This is analyzing the problem, suggesting answers, and selecting the best possible solution. This is an important standard of critical thinking.
- Accuracy: In order to get to the truth through critical thinking, you must seek accurate and adequate information. Because to arrive at the best possible solution you need to work with the right facts and information. It is with this information you will analyze and evaluate every idea and solution.
- Relevance: This means how relevant are the ideas and solutions to the problem on the ground. No matter how deep and critical the thinking might be, it is useless if it is not relevant to the problem. Such thinking is as good as shallow thinking because it is useless.
- Consistency: Consistency is one of the important standards of critical thinking. Your beliefs should be consistent. This means that you shouldn’t hold beliefs that are conflicting. This will lead to confusion and not knowing what you stand for. There is a popular saying that, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for something”. You can’t be on opposite sides of an opinion. And if you don’t have a belief that guides you, you will take every answer and solution as the right one. Another angle of inconsistency is believing in one thing and acting otherwise and vice versa. Arriving at the most suitable solutions if you are not consistent in your beliefs will be very difficult.
- Logical Correctness: Logical correctness means drawing well-grounded conclusions from your beliefs. This means that the argument is reasonable, the thinking is consistent, and the answers and solutions given are drawn from the evidence provided.
- Completeness: This means you engage in deep and rigorous thinking and evaluation, rather than shallow thoughts and superficial criticism. Completeness demands that additional views are taken into consideration, meaning that all perspectives are being considered before arriving at a particular solution.
- Fairness: Critical thinking must be open-minded, impartial, and not biased. It is not one-sided or self-centered.
Final Words for CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING
All the above standards must be met for successful critical thinking. It is particularly important to know that critical thinking should be a way of life, because if it is not well-practiced, it might lead to making wrong and rash decisions unknowingly. Engage in meaningful exercises, getting yourself involved in more brain tasking exercises.