Don’t just accept everything you read or hear – question and discard any biases by critically assessing the information and making up your own mind.
When you use critical thinking techniques to solve problems in your personal or professional life, you can be much surer of a better outcome.
Here are the recommended steps in problem solving that you can use critical thinking techniques to help solve:
Identify the Problem – before you begin to solve a situation or problem, you should first carefully identify it. This means you’ll evaluate every aspect of a problem – critical thinking is the process of thinking before you leap to a conclusion about a situation.
Analyse – after you carefully identify the problem, you can analyse it by learning as much about it as possible. Look beyond what’s presented as facts in the situation and consider other perspectives on the matter. Be open-minded as you analyse the problem so that you can discuss it or think about it logically.
Brainstorm Solutions – think about all the potential implications of the problem and the possible outcomes. What will be the impact of certain solutions and what research can you perform to get accurate answers? Are there other, similar problems that you’ve previously solved satisfactorily?
Consider Solutions – carefully consider the implications of each solution, the advantages and disadvantages. Also, think about the process you will go through if you use one solution over another. What will be the immediate and long-term impacts of your decision?
Choose a Solution – before definitely choosing a solution to a problem, you should first determine how suited it is to the objective, how much risk there is involved and how practical the decision will be.
As you go through the process of using critical thinking to solve a problem, use techniques such as writing down what you’re thinking or discuss it with your colleagues. Take time to be sure you’re making the right decision. Sleep on it is good advice when you’re striving to effectively solve a problem.
Also be creative in the critical thinking process. If you run across a new idea or thought you haven’t considered, don’t dismiss it without gathering evidence and weighing the alternative against others.
Critical thinking will help you design a plan of action based carefully analysing the problem rather than on a quick decision that could be detrimental to short and long-term goals.