Frequently Asked Questions about Critical Thinking
The simplest way to define critical thinking is taking the facts of a situation, event, or item and using them to form a judgment about that thing. When you employ critical thinking, you're putting your own experience, observation, analytical skills, and reasoning to work to examine the facts and to apply intellectual standards to those facts. Critical thinking involves asking questions, gathering information, removing preconceived notions, and communicating clearly about that which you're analyzing. Critical thinking allows you to more clearly approach any subject to learn and understand it better.
When you grasp the principles of critical thinking, you're able to analyze and reflect on the facts and put aside any biases that you may have. You probably already put critical thinking to work in your daily life to one extent or another, but you may not apply it as a discipline. The idea behind critical thinking is to understand the connections between the facts and ideas of a subject or situation, and it involves developing certain skills to engage effectively in reasoning. It's not about the knowledge you've accumulated; rather it's about how you're able to think and reason in a given moment. It's a skill that you have to learn and practice to use effectively.
You can apply critical thinking as a way to improve yourself at work. Critical thinking skills allow you to make reasonable decisions in the moment, especially when you or others around you are under stress. You can solve problems better when you put critical thinking into practice. Critical thinking also helps you to make decisions without resorting to emotions or selfishness. Thorough knowledge of critical thinking can even help you become more creative and innovative. Critical thinking gives you a suite of tools that you can use to set yourself up for career success.
When you take a course in critical thinking on Coursera, you can study topics like understanding arguments, developing negotiating skills, or confronting gender-based violence. You can learn about problem-solving as it relates to the workplace as well as university success. Online courses on Coursera can help you understand reasoning across disciplines and problem solving using computational thinking too.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.