Critical thinking

Critical thinking can be defined as the process of thinking of possible explanations for outcomes and findings, and determining how compatible the possible explanations are with the outcomes and findings. For example, if you learn that your supervisor’s use of humour is correlated with how much an employee likes his or her job, you would think of more than one explanation for this finding. Moreover, you would conclude that you cannot make causal conclusions from this finding alone because you are not able to rule out alternative explanations. Although mostly useful, there are several bad habits of critical thinking too, namely:

  • Biased to prefer own side
  • Only superficial understanding; does not care to learn more
  • Accepts without questioning
  • Jumps to conclusions
  • Overly confident

Good habits of critical thinking:

  • Fair and open-minded when considering different views
  • Tries to understand things deeply
  • Questions assumptions, evidence, limitations
  • Persistent, thorough, careful and curious
  • Humility, recognize own limitations, admit when wrong or don’t know