What is Critical Thinking

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On a daily basis, people face problems and situations that should be evaluated and solved, and challenges arise as they try to understand different perspectives about these situations. Understanding the concepts and process of critical thinking is very relevant for anyone who intends to excel in critical writing and reviewing.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the process of analyzing facts to arrive at informed judgment. It consists of analysis of facts to support or dispute claims with a view to creating a rational decision-making platform. They further state that critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.

Critical thinking refers to an individual’s ability to think clearly and rationally about what they want to do or believe. This is has to do with the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It is a thought process that is devoid of sentiments but focuses on objective reason to communicate better.

With specific reference to writing, critical thinking facilitates the process of critical writing. It determines what takes place in the mind before the actual writing. In critical writing you are like a judge over a work, an idea or whatever subject matter you are working on. Critical thinking is very essential here. If you don’t think rightly, you can’t write rightly. It helps you to investigate the evidence by cross-examining it, considering alternative arguments and explanations before reaching a valid and convincing conclusion. Critical writing process depends seriously on effective critical thinking. When you examine a message or work of art, you take a position and present your reasoning and evidence in a clear, well structured manner.

Critical thinking skills help people to think in a more systematic, logical, and imaginative manner. Anyone who has functional critical thinking skills is able to do the following (Critical Thinking Web, n.d.):

  • understand the logical connections between ideas
  • identify, construct and evaluate arguments
  • detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
  • solve problems systematically
  • identify the relevance and importance of ideas
  • reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values

Critical thinking entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference (Baker, 2015).

(Taken from the book “Critical Writing and Reviewing, Second Edition, written by Chineney Nwabueze)

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