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Thinking Outside the Box - A Guide to Problem Solving

Everyday people are faced with a number of decisions. What to eat, where to go and other decisions need to be made on a regular basis. Some decisions such as what to wear or what to do are fairly easy to make. Others, such as career and education options can be more difficult. Any decisions that are made will have an impact on both the immediate and the future of individuals involved.

When making decisions or solving problems, people need to consider as much information as possible to reach the decision. The decision maker needs to look at all sides of the situation, weigh the possible consequences of each decision and ultimately come to a conclusion. This type of decision making is utilizing critical thinking.

Critical thinking is described, according to criticalthinking.org as “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”

There are many philosophical uses for critical thinking. Critical thinking can be used for creating workable solutions to complex personal problems, deliberating as a group about what course of action to take to arrive at a workable solution, or analyzing the assumptions and the quality of the methods used in scientifically arriving at a reasonable level of confidence about a given hypothesis.

The critical thinking process has several steps to it. They include:

  1.  Identify the problem, the relevant information, and all uncertainties about the problem.
  2. Explore interpretations and connections.
  3. Prioritize alternatives and communicate conclusions.
  4. Integrate, monitor, and refine strategies for re-addressing the problem.

Critical thinking, when used properly, can help an individual reach a sound conclusion to any dilemma. By utilizing critical thinking, the decision maker will look at all sides of the problem and it will help them reach the best possible conclusion. Using critical thinking as a way to help decide the best course of action will help individuals think outside the box and achieve success.

Critical thinking has many phases and steps. To help understand the theory of critical thinking, we have gathered a selection of resources. By reviewing the information you will have a better understanding of critical thinking, the critical thinking process and how critical thinking can work in our daily lives:





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