Critical Thinking in the Decision Making Process

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Critical Thinking in the Decision Making Process Introduction Making decisions is something each of us is faced with on a daily basis and regardless of the complexity of the decision; we must establish a method that will produce a positive outcome. Before a decision can be made a problem must be identified and addressed. Applying critical thinking skills to a problem set allows a person to step through a process towards making a well informed decision. Paul and Elder define critical thinking as “the art of thinking about thinking while thinking in order to make thinking better. It involves three interwoven phases: it analyzes thinking, it evaluates thinking, and it improves thinking” (p. xvii). This might sound a bit confusing initially but if you ask the question “why” during each thought process it is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Each layer requires an explanation followed by another “why” to help get to the core of the problem set. This paper will illustrate the importance and benefits associated with critical thinking as well as provide a personal experience where applying critical thinking was used in a work related decision. Importance of Critical Thinking The University of Phoenix uses a nine step process for decision making breaking it into three distinct phases: 1) Framing the problem, 2) Making the decision, and 3) Evaluating the decision. Each of these phases requires critical thought to formulate alternatives and potential solutions. Landis, Swain, Friehe, and Coufal (2007) have also evaluated the Newman method and the Facione Rubric processes for solving problems. Regardless of which model used three phases stand out and must be considered in order make a decision. The development of critical thinking skills begins during our childhood years and continues throughout our lives as we gain more and more experience in life. Critical

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