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Critical Thinking

Resources to aid in evaluating information, arguments, and viewpoints.

The Value of Critical Thinking Skills

"Ignorance and despotism seem made for each other."  Thomas Jefferson

Critical thinking skills have multiple purposes:

  • Identifying bias
  • Evaluating premises and conclusions
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Synthesizing
  • Identifying assumptions
  • Ascertaining purpose
  • Determining consequences
  • Solving problems
  • Determining effects
  • Distinguishing between fact/truth and artificial constructs
  • Encouraging independent thinking
  • Engendering creative thinking
  • Promoting rational decision-making
  • Detecting fallacies

Critical thinking increases intellectual honesty

In the Sciences, critical thinking skills are essential. Formulating a hypothesis, for example, requires objective thought. In the Social Sciences and Humanities, many courses require analysis. For example, writing an Argumentative paper for an English course calls for the ability to view an issue from at least two sides. Many other courses--Political Science, Philosophy, Mass Communication, Sociology, Journalism, and Criminal Justice--to name a few, require students to ask questions and evaluate statements. Critical thinking is interdisciplinary, cross-curricular.

At St. Louis Community College, the Capstone course description includes the phrase "higher-order thinking." That kind of thinking goes beyond the surface. It examines the basis and consequences of proposals, statements, and viewpoints.

A major benefit of acquiring critical thinking skills is the ability to evaluate information presented in all forms of media, especially online information.

Related Guides

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000