Texas Tech University

Critical Thinking


While there are numerous complex definitions of critical thinking, Richard Paul, from the Center for Critical Thinking, and Linda Elder, from the Foundation for Critical Thinking, define it as "the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it" (2006). Effective critical thinkers question accepted standards, identify problems, and explore alternatives. Essentially, critical thinking is learning what questions to ask and how to ask them, and analyzing previous experience and knowledge to find a better solution. Critical thinking is vital to becoming a productive researcher and scholar, an effective teacher, and a contributing citizen and colleague in whatever career path you choose. Some specific critical thinking skills include:

• Analyzing complex problems
• Raising vital questions
• Gathering and assessing information
• Recognizing biases
• Thinking open-mindedly and addressing multiple perspectives
• Solving problems thoughtfully and fairly

Additional Resources on Critical Thinking

• The Foundation for Critical Thinking: https://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

• Reed, L. (2018). Building critical thinking skills to solve problems at work. Business.com. https://www.business.com/articles/building-critical-thinking-skills-at-work/

• Wallace, L. (2009). The importance of critical thinking. The Atlantic. May 29.