Define Critical Thinking In Research

The need for continued improvement in graduate employee higher order thinking can be seen through national initiatives (for example in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia) developing minimum learning requirements referred to as threshold learning outcomes (Wilson , 2011).

In the case of science education there is often an emphasis of critical thinking as a skill set (Bailin, 2002).

There are concerns that from a pedagogical perspective many of the skills or processes commonly ascribed as part of critical thinking are difficult to observe and therefore difficult to assess.

Furthermore, the report stated that a good critical thinker demonstrates a series of dispositions which is required for the individual to utilise the aforementioned skills.

According to the report a ‘good critical thinker, is habitually disposed to engage in, and to encourage others to engage in, critical judgement’ (Facione, 1990, p. These dispositions were later categorised into inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, systematicity, analyticity, truth seeking, critical thinking self-confidence and maturity (Facione, 1990).

They arrived at a general consensus that critical thinking is ‘purposeful, self-regulatory judgement which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgement is based’ (Facione, 1990, p. The report concluded that a person who exhibits good critical thinking is in possession of a series of cognitive skills and dispositions.

The consensus of the Delphi experts was that a good critical thinker is proficient in the skills of interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation and self-regulation (Facione, 1990).These findings suggest that skills which may be transferable to a range of employment settings, such as critical thinking, are worthwhile developing at the tertiary level.The definition of critical thinking is frequently discussed in the literature, particularly among philosophers, psychologists and education researchers.From a philosophical perspective a comprehensive dialogue regarding critical thinking emerged in the form of the Delphi report (Facione, 1990).This report summarised a year-long discussion between 47 academics from philosophy, education, social sciences and physical sciences.Psychologists typically explored and defined critical thinking , 1987; Lehman and Nisbett, 1990).Halpern (1993) refined the cognitive psychologists' definition of critical thinking as the thinking required to solve problems, formulate inferences, calculate likelihoods and make decisions.Critical thinking was considered the second most important skill or attribute behind active learning.In 2012 Graduate Careers Australia found that of the 45% of chemistry graduates available for full-time or part-time employment, only 66% had obtained employment in a chemistry related field (Graduate Careers Australia, 2015).Good critical thinking is important to the development of students and a valued skill in commercial markets and wider society.There has been much discussion regarding the definition of critical thinking and how it is best taught in higher education.


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