Guide to Learning Critical Thinking, incl. Free Tutorials • Discoverology
32 items | 282m read

Ultimate Learning Guide To Critical Thinking

6m read | Introduction
Ultimate Learning Guide To Critical Thinking

We know that creative thinking is a necessity when it comes to ideas and sales, but critical thinking is an important skill. Many people claim they can think on a critical level, but few understand what it means! Let’s delve into the world of critical thinking and discover what it takes to be successful.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to reason, and form connections between ideas. Some describe it as an ability to use reflective thinking and independent thinking in collaboration. Critical thinking differs from learning because instead of absorbing information you’re required to analyze it and form your own conclusions based on the ideas presented to you.

While some individuals prefer to solve problems based on their intuition, critical thinking is all about using the evidence in front of you to solve a problem. When employers look for new team members, critical thinking is one skill they look for. Being a good critical thinker means you are analytical, good at problem-solving and decisive.

Why Do Businesses Value Critical Thinking?

The business world is difficult to navigate, but individuals with strong critical thinking skills have an easier time climbing the career ladder. Think about the last time you went for an interview and were asked a tricky question. It’s natural for some people to stumble through their answer, while others may give an emotive response. Critical thinkers can decipher a question and use each aspect to provide a conclusive answer. It’s these analytical skills that employers look for, so critical thinkers succeed more in business.

When we get our emotions involved in business decisions, we often make the wrong one. You’ve heard of the saying “Business is a cutthroat world,” right? Sometimes people care too much and in doing so, they cannot make the right decision. For example, if an employee is under-performing, the logical thing would be to fire them and find a more suitable individual. However, when your emotions get in the way, you’ll feel bad for dismissing them and put the company operations at risk.

The most important thing to remember about critical thinking is it’s about combining a set of skills while remaining distant from a problem. Employers turn to critical thinkers in times of need, because they trust in their ability to give excellent advice. Critical thinkers possess the following skills and abilities:

— Evaluate the relevance of ideas
— Listen to all opinions without bias
— Use reason to examine ideas
— Solve problems
— Understand how data correlates to a problem

How to Improve Your Critical Thinking

The best thing about critical thinking skills is that anybody can learn them. The most important thing to remember is that emotions have no part in critical thinking, which is often the hardest thing for people to remember. If you’re an individual who’s used to letting their heart rule their head, it’s time to follow these steps to get ahead in the business world.

Don’t React

You’re sent a rather rude email, or you’ve read an idea which gets you excited and inspired. Instead of reacting, think about every aspect of the equation. Why is the individual being rude? Is the idea going to benefit your business? We often react to things with our hearts, but when we take the time to think about them, our opinion changes. Weigh up the pros and cons, look at all the factors and use your sense of reason before deciding.

Consider Motive

When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. That amazing business deal promises everything you need at a low cost, but what’s the catch? Always make sure you perform research, look at the small print and check if the offer will deliver what you need.


Researching is one of the best things someone can do when making a decision. Even something as small as going online and learning about an idea or company will give you valuable insights. Never decide without weighing up the cons and think about if the pros outweigh them. Never take anything at face value. Looks can deceive, so what seems great on the outside may have plenty of negatives once you dig deeper.


All too often we refuse to ask questions because we fear looking stupid. However, if you don’t ask questions, then you’ll never get the answers you need. Once you open yourself up to other opinions, you can gain a whole new perspective and decide based on factors you may not have thought about.

Small Pieces

Instead of looking at a whole picture, break it down into small pieces. This way you can look at each detail and ensure you don’t miss anything important. When we break down information, it enables us to use our analytical skills and see how the information relates to each other. Scientists use this technique all the time, and it’s proven to be successful.

Don’t Complicate Things

Critical thinking is a complicated skill to master, so it might surprise you that one of the essential rules is don’t complicate things! When you’re analyzing data, and looking at numerous factors, it’s easy to think you must find the most complex answer. However, once you break down the information, you can form a conclusion based on what fits each aspect. This approach means you’re able to find the simplest answer and put it into practice.

Key Take-Away

Critical thinking isn’t easy, but by putting your logic before emotions you can decide based on the greater good. Developing critical thinking skills takes time, practice and commitment, but the results are worth it. If you want to be your bosses go-to person, then follow the above tips and become a valued member of your team.

About This Critical Thinking Guide

This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about critical thinking from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.

14 items | 111m read
5m read | Basics

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself.
16m read | Basics

The Importance of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
12m read | Basics

History of the Idea of Critical Thinking

The intellectual roots of critical thinking are as ancient as its etymology, traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practice and vision of Socrates 2,500 years ago who discovered by a method of probing questioning that people could not rationally justify their confident claims to knowledge. Confused meanings, inadequate evidence, or self-contradictory beliefs often lurked beneath smooth but largely empty rhetoric.
4m read | Basics

Critical-Thinking Skills for the 21st Century

Three methods for teaching critical thinking skills and smart media consumption habits to a generation growing up in a climate of information overload.
5m read | Basics

Schools, Businesses Focus on Critical Thinking

While the ability to think critically is, well, critical in the workplace, employers have long complained that many of the young college graduates they hire seem to lack this skill. Now, universities are trying to fix the problem before their grads ever meet a recruiter.
7m read | Basics

Types of Thinking Test: Concrete, Analytical, Abstract, Logical, Imaginative, Creative

There are five types of thinking: concrete (The Doer), analytical or abstract thinking (The Analyst), logical thinking (The Orator), imaginative (The Inventor) and creative (The Original Thinker). Take this test and find out which type of thinker you are.
12m read | Basics

Critical Thinking Strategies in Everyday Life

Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work. It is not possible to become an excellent thinker simply because one wills it. Changing one’s habits of thought is a long-range project, happening over years, not weeks or months. The essential traits of a critical thinker require an extended period of development.
6m read | Basics

Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers

Successful executives use critical thinking skills every day, to sift through incomplete and complex information, ask the right questions, recognize strong versus weak arguments, and to assimilate the information they need to make logical business decisions. Today’s rapidly changing business environment allows no time for poor decision making.
12m read | Basics

Becoming A Critic Of Your Thinking

The ideal of critical thinking is a central one in Bertrand Russell’s philosophy, though this is not yet generally recognized in the literature on critical thinking. For Russell, the ideal is embedded in the fabric of philosophy, science, liberalism and rationality, and this paper reconstructs Russell’s account, which is scattered throughout numerous papers and books.
8m read | Basics

Beyond Critical Thinking

The skill at unmasking error, or simple intellectual one-upmanship, is not completely without value, but we should be wary of creating a class of self-satisfied debunkers or, to use a currently fashionable word on campuses, people who like to “trouble” ideas.
5m read | Basics

How can You Learn to Think Critically?

In his article `Teaching critical thinking: some lessons from cognitive science` (2005) Tim van Gelder formulates six basic principles in relation to critical thinking. These principles are partly about critical thinking itself, partly about how critical thinking skills can be acquired and partly about the best method of teaching critical thinking.
5m watch | Basics

How Your Brain Works

Ever wonder how your brain processes information? These brain tricks and illusions help to demonstrate the two main systems of Fast and Slow Thinking in your brain.
6m read | Basics

How to Develop 5 Critical Thinking Types

Strategic leaders know how to strike a balance between visualizing what might or could be and an effective day-to-day approach to implementation. They can look into the future to see where the company needs to go and what it will look like once they get there. And they can do this while making sure the right things get done on a daily basis.

This type of strategic leadership requires five different types of thinking.
8m read | Basics

Traits of Highly Effective Critical Thinkers

Let’s begin our exploration by recalling that effective critical thinkers function by way of different thought processes in different circumstances. After all, figuring out how to make it to work on time when your car breaks down in rush hour traffic requires critical thinking application as much as negotiating world peace does. Both scenarios facilitate such skills in far different settings, and with different stakes and outcomes, but they call upon these skills nonetheless.
8 items | 71m read
7m read | Advanced

What Is An Argument?

An argument is a deliberate attempt to move beyond just making an assertion. When offering an argument, you are offering a series of related statements which represent an attempt to support that assertion — to give others good reasons to believe that what you are asserting is true rather than false.
6m read | Advanced

Argument Skills and How to Teach Them

Argumentation is the thought process used to develop and present arguments. It is closely related to critical thinking and reasoning. Argument skills belong among the essential 21st-century cognitive skills. We face complex issues that require careful, balanced reasoning to resolve.
15m read | Advanced

Examples of Fallacies and How to Avoid Them

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning common enough to warrant a fancy name. Knowing how to spot and identify fallacies is a priceless skill. It can save you time, money, and personal dignity. There are two major categories of logical fallacies, which in turn break down into a wide range of types of fallacies, each with their own unique ways of trying to trick you into agreement.
7m read | Advanced

How Critical Thinking Can Help You Solve Problems

Critical thinking is a form of problem solving that is much more than just gaining knowledge. Someone who has good critical thinking skills will look at both sides of an argument, and they will also look at evidence to support the two arguments. In addition to this, they will break down the arguments and looking at the implications which are connected to them. Once they’ve done this, they will look for contradictions.
11m read | Advanced

How Critical Thinking Can Empower You To Do More And Succeed

The most valuable aspect of critical thinking is its transferability. Critical thinking skills are fluid and versatile. They can easily be transported between professions, tasks, subject areas, and niches. And they can be applied and reapplied to all sorts of situations, dilemmas, and conundrums.
9m read | Advanced

Critical Thinking and the Decision Making Process

People view critical-thinking and decision making are synonymous to each other, at least when it comes to the necessary skills of corporate leaders. Many people still do not have a grasp of the underlying concepts that made critical thinking effective. To help you understand why critical thinking is important in the decision-making process, you need to learn more about the four key structures from which critical thinking is based on.
4m read | Advanced

Decision Making Without Critical Thinking

Decision making without critical thinking may seem ridiculous when you think about it. Because nowadays, thinking is something we do a lot of. To be able to think is valued in our society. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that most people only exist from the neck up!
12m read | Advanced

Critical Thinking with Rationale

The method Critical Thinking with Rationale (CTwR) has been developed as a result of the initiative of the Australian Research Council that commissioned a four-year research project in 2001 on how to improve critical thinking skills.
9 items | 94m read
7m read | Expert

Barriers to Critical Thinking

Quite often, discussion of Critical Thinking (CT) revolves around tips for what you or your students should be doing to enhance CT ability. However, it seems that there’s substantially less discussion of what you ‘shouldn’t be doing’; that is, barriers to CT. About a year ago, I posted 5 Tips for Critical Thinking to this blog and after thinking about it in terms of what not to do, along with more modern conceptualisations of CT (see Dwyer, 2017), I’ve compiled a list of five major barriers to CT. Of course, these are not the only barriers to CT; rather, they are five that may have the most impact on how one applies CT.
7m read | Expert

Common Thinking Errors in Critical Thinking

Being able to think strategically, rationally, and objectively is a vital tool to be used alongside more direct, intuitive ‘gut feelings’. But most of us are never taught how to think. We can all learn to think better by knowing what the more common critical thinking mistakes are, so as to avoid them as far as possible.
5m watch | Expert

Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking

Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances — and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. Samantha Agoos describes a 5-step process that may help you with any number of problems.
6m read | Expert

Puzzles to Challenge Your Critical Thinking

The theme of this blog is critical thinking—and the kinds of puzzles that can be constructed around it. This term is used frequently in psychology and education. There are various definitions, but the one that best suits our purpose and which is, in the end, perhaps the best, is the ability to comprehend the logical connections among ideas, words, phrases, and concepts. In the relevant scientific literature, of course, the term is used much more broadly as a framework for understanding human cognition.
5m read | Expert

Team-Building Games That Promote Critical Thinking

The following team-building games can promote cooperation and communication, help establish a positive classroom environment and — most importantly — provide a fun, much-needed reprieve from routine.
28m read | Expert

Activities for Developing Critical Thinking Skills

Continuous learning and the imaginative application of it are needed if the organization itself is to continue. Imaginative thought, described by Tom Peters as the “only source of real value in the new economy,” originates with well-informed employees who employ critical thinking to translate knowledge into competitive advantage. By critical thinking, we refer to thought processes that are quick, accurate, and assumption-free. (They are often creative as well.) Such processes help us view, with a critical eye, the problems, decisions, and situations that require appropriate reaction and action.
16m watch | Expert

How to Think, Not What to Think

Jesse Richardson is the founder of an online learning environment. He believes the key to engaging future generations is to teach them how, and not what, to think.
10m read | Expert

Further Reading: Best Critical Thinking Books

The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims. This book explores the essentials of critical reasoning, argumentation, logic, and argumentative essay writing while also incorporating important topics that most other texts leave out, such as “inference to the best explanation,” scientific reasoning, evidence and authority, visual reasoning, and obstacles to critical thinking.

The Basics of Critical Thinking. This book defines and teaches critical thinking in a way all students can understand through simple explanations, diagrams, and short, engaging activities. In addition to being a course in critical thinking, the activities in this book can be used to supplement lessons in all subjects.

The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. This powerful book introduces core critical thinking concepts and principles as an empowering problem-solving framework for every profession, course of study, and indeed every area of life. It distills the groundbreaking work of Richard Paul and Linda Elder, targeting how to deconstruct thinking through the elements of reasoning and how to assess the quality of our thinking.

Models For Critical Thinking: A Fundamental Guide to Effective Decision Making, Deep Analysis, Intelligent Reasoning, and Independent Thinking. This book provides you with unique insights into the nature of thinking and reasoning – why are we often so wrong, why are we so inclined to avoid the responsibility of thinking for ourselves and how can we develop solid, objective thinking patterns.

10m read | Expert

Further Learning: Best Critical Thinking Courses

Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age. This course presents basic concepts from statistics, probability, scientific methodology, cognitive psychology and cost-benefit theory and shows how they can be applied to everything from picking one product over another to critiquing media accounts of scientific research. Concepts are defined briefly and breezily and then applied to many examples drawn from business, the media and everyday life.

Master Cognitive Biases and Improve Your Critical Thinking. This course will get you up to speed on what cognitive biases are, why they’re important for critical thinking, why cognitive bias training has become popular, and what sorts of “debiasing” techniques have been shown to be effective in improving the quality of thinking and decision-making.

Master your Decision-Making, and Critical Thinking Skills. Learn how critical insights from research and advances in Psychology, Cognitive, Behavioral science, and Behavioral Economics, can help you make better and more rational decisions, and analyze/solve problems better.

Introduction to Critical Thinking. This course will give you some basic groundwork for skepticism and critical thinking — how to recognize fallacies in media, how to pick out spurious statistics, how to craft an argument, and how to know when scientific terms are being misdefined.  By the end, you’ll be a more savvy reader and listener, and have a better ability to articulate your own views clearly and accurately.

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