Critical Thinking Part 2: Gather Necessary, Relevant & Accurate Information

Calm no matter whatTwo of the most common mistakes people make in trying to think critically are:

  1. Not taking the time to gather all the information required for a well-reasoned decision.
  2. Taking too much time gathering more information than required, becoming inundated with useless data that bogs down the analysis.

Thinking critically requires withholding judgment until you have all the information you need. Don’t jump to conclusions, and don’t take everything at face value.  Take time to check the facts—are they accurate?  Did they come from reliable sources?  Are there other sources that confirm earlier findings?  Are you getting information from multiple perspectives?

A common error is to take assumptions or opinions as facts.  Don’t assume that what is commonly accepted as fact is the truth.  It was previously held as facts that the earth was flat and the sun revolved around us.

While you want all the relevant and reliable information you can get, you need to balance that against seeking so much information that you become indecisive.  After a while, it might be hard to see the “forest for the trees.”

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