What are the major steps to critical thinking as it relates to problem-solving?

Today’s professional world is looking for people who are both critical thinkers and problem solvers. On the surface, they can look similar. But, critical thinking and problem-solving have their fair share of differences and thought processes.

The 5 Common Steps in Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving are:

1. Identify the problem:

The first step in critical thinking and problem-solving is problem identification. For a critical thinker, the thought process will be:

  1. Is it a real problem

  2. Does the problem exists

With a problem-solving attitude, the thought process will be:

  1. This is a problem

  2. Here to start to analyze it

2. Analyze:

You analyze and interpret the problem.

3. Brainstorm:

Similar to evaluating step in critical thinking, this brainstorming session is about:

  • Finding solutions

  • Analyzing the pros and cons of the solution

  • Justifying the solution

4. Decide:

You come up with an agreeable solution here.

5. Take action:

You take actionable steps to put the solution into action.

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To make things understandable further, here are

6 Main Difference between critical thinking and problem solving

Difference #1

Critical thinking is: Intentional, reflective way of looking at surroundings, things, or scenarios.

Problem-solving: Focuses on a specific situation

Difference #2

Critical thinking: It involves finding a workable solution and defending/justifying the solution.

Problem-solving: Forming a conclusion.

Difference #3

Critical thinking: Recognizing the problem scenarios

Problem-solving: Defining the problems

Difference #4

Critical thinking; Identifying, formulating and solving problems

Problem-solving: Recognizing a problem situation

Difference #5

Critical thinking: Encloses all thinking skills, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving factors.

Problem-solving: It is an outcome of critical thinking

Difference #6

Critical Thinking involves steps like: Analyzing, Reasoning, Evaluating, Synthesizing, and Take Action

Problem Solving involves steps like: Identifying the problem cause, brainstorming sessions, come up with multiple solutions. And, monitor the progress.