A successful critical thinker questions perceived knowledge, rejects anecdotal or non-scientific evidence and examines the source of all information.
He or she is open-minded and well-informed, able to judge the quality of an argument and draw cautious yet evidence-based conclusions.
Many people considering undergraduate or postgraduate study focus their attention only on the subject-specific skills that they will develop, e.g.
they assume that a law degree will only help them to progress in a legal-related role.
This skill is essential for students working on assignments and performing research.
It’s also an invaluable skill in many workplace scenarios.
Before utilising a statistic, quotation or piece of research to reinforce their argument in an assignment or discussion, students should check the source carefully to ensure that it was produced by a reliable source.
That source needs to be based on solid evidence and should not suffer from research bias.
For example, a manager could use their critical thinking skills to evaluate sales and financial data, or to review a project proposal.
By remaining detached from sudden fluctuations in data and emotional sales pitches, employees with critical thinking skills are able to see the bigger picture and avoid making hasty (and costly! Employees with critical thinking skills can also use these to improve their company through market research and by recognising opportunities.