Step 1: Identify
Based on what we see and hear, we assume that this could be the problem. But, a critical thinker will do things differently. They will ask
- Is it the real problem
- Is it the reflection of an actual problem that is somewhere
- Is it a part of a bigger problem or just a minor issue etc.
They look for core problem areas first. Critical thinking skill is to identify the heart of the problem and not what appears in plain sight.
Among the 7 steps of critical thinking skills, “Identifying” is where critical thinkers spend most of their time before proceeding to other steps.
Step 2: Gather
The second step is to gather data, opinions, arguments, resources, and everything you can about the problem. Apart from other sources, do your research and have independent self-arguments, angles, and ideas to approach the problem.
Step 3: Analyze
With all gathered data, begin analyzing and evaluating it. Find out the credibility. It’s the best part of critical thinking step because you get to find:
- What is true?
- What is right?
- Is it valid for the present situation?
- Are these sources reliable?
- Is it a valid argument based on facts or just personal opinions?
- Is the data enough? Etc.
Step 4: Interpret
Another important critical thinking step is interpretation. You find out what applies to the problem from all analyzed data. And pick the most appropriate ones. You remove irrelevancies out of the equation.
Step 5: Establish
Establish your ideas and inferences. Be open-minded to accept other perspectives also here.
Step 6: Decide
Finally, go through all the ideas and decide on one final suitable solution.
Step 7: Communicate:
Once you have finalized the solution, communicate it to people. Good communication is important in critical thinking.