Critical Thinking Tip: Examine the Decision PointDecember 11, 2012
Critical thinking holds up, or breaks down, at the Decision Point – that moment when an individual or a team ends the discussion, and makes a decision that moves things forward. The better the critical thinking, the better the decision.
Start by examining the Decision Point as it happens. That means stepping back and looking what has gone into that moment.
Here’s what to look for: Failures of critical thinking often occur when we let our emotions get in the way, or when we seek out and agree with information that is consistent with our own points of view. In other words, we hear what we want to hear, and see what we want to see.
To check whether this is happening, ask these five questions at each Decision Point:
- What specific assumptions are we making?
- What evidence do we have for those assumptions?
- Could others reasonably come to a different decision?
- What assumptions might be behind each alternative decision?
- Is there valid evidence that supports those assumptions?
These questions represent critical thinking in action. And if a decision can stand up to them, it’s probably a good one!
Develop your Critical Thinking skills!