PRINCIPLES OF CRITICAL THINKING
Don’t mistake ignorance for perspective. Gather complete information. One of the most important and most violated principles of critical thinking is thoroughness—that is, gathering all available facts on a subject under scrutiny. Obviously thinking requires facts; erroneous conclusions often stem from inadequate factual knowledge.
Principles of Critical Thinking:
1. Gather complete information.
2. Understand and define all terms.
3. Question the methods by which the facts are derived.
4. Question the conclusions.
5. Look for hidden assumptions and biases.
6. Question the source of facts.
7. Don’t expect all of the answers.
8. Examine the big picture.
9. Examine multiple cause and effect.
10. Watch for thought stoppers.
11. Understand your own biases and values.
Edited from Larry Larson, Professor of Biology, Ohio University. Handout from class, 1994. Original source: “Journal of Biological Education (1990).