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While there’s no universal standard for what skills are included in the critical thinking process, we’ve boiled it down to the following six.Focusing on these can put you on the path to becoming an exceptional critical thinker.
It is also important to note that not all inferences will be correct.
For example, if you read that someone weighs 260 pounds, you might infer they are overweight or unhealthy.
Other data points like height and body composition, however, may alter that conclusion.
How to improve: An inference is an educated guess, and your ability to infer correctly can be polished by making a conscious effort to gather as much information as possible before jumping to conclusions.
The best way to combat this is independent verification; find the source of the information and evaluate.
How to improve: It can be helpful to develop an eye for unsourced claims.
Does the person posing the argument offer where they got this information from?
If you ask or try to find it yourself and there’s no clear answer, that should be considered a red flag.
Ideally, critical thinking is to be done objectively—meaning without influence from personal feelings, opinions or biases—and it focuses solely on factual information.
Critical thinking is a skill that allows you to make logical and informed decisions to the best of your ability.