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Critical Thinking Learning Models

Analyzing and Assessing Thinking

In this section, we offer an interactive model which details the analysis and assessment of reasoning, and enables
you to apply the model to real life problems.

On this page we introduce the analysis and assessment of reasoning. To skip this introduction and go directly to
the model, see the links near the bottom of this page.

Why the Analysis of Thinking Is Important


Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial,
uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and of what we produce, make, or build depends
precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. If you want to
think well, you must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking
is made. You must learn how to take thinking apart.

All Thinking Is Defined by the Eight Elements That Make It Up


Eight basic structures are present in all thinking: Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and
consequences. We use concepts, ideas and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues.

Thinking, then:
generates purposes
raises questions
uses information
utilizes concepts Open the "Elements and Standards" Online Model
makes inferences
makes assumptions
generates implications
embodies a point of view

Each of these structures has implications for the others. If you change your purpose or agenda, you change your questions and problems. If you change your questions and
problems, you are forced to seek new information and data. If you collect new information and data

Why the Assessment of Thinking is Important


Once you have analyzed thinking, you then need to assess it, using universal intellectual standards (http://www.criticalthinking.org/articles/universal-intellectual-standards.cfm).
Reasonable persons judge reasoning using these standards. When you internalize them and explicitly use them in your thinking, your thinking becomes more clear, more
accurate, more precise, more relevant, deeper, broader and more fair. You should note that we generally focus on a selection of standards. Among others are credibility,
sufficiency, reliability, and practicality.

Using the Elements and Standards Online Model

The easy-to-use online model you will find at the following two links were developed to further introduce you to the Elements of Reasoning and Universal Intellectual Standards,
and enable you to apply them to real life problems.

These pages are self-guided and self paced, allowing you to move back and forth between the elements and standards. When moving around in the model realize that the
cursor will need to be moved carefully around the wheel to keep from activating parts of the model you are not focusing on at the moment. With some practice you will see how
the model works and be able to work with it effectively.

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-learning-models/704 1/2
10/22/2017 Critical Thinking Learning Models
Open the "Elements and Standards" Online Model

Using the Elements and Standards To Analyze a Problem

An interactive extension of the Model Above, this tool will allow you to analyze a problem by identifying each of the
Elements of Thought you are using in your reasoning. Pay attention to the intellectual standards as you do so. Your
analysis and conclusions can be viewed and printed in a report form when you have completed your analysis. You can
save the logics of multiple problems in the database and return to review them or update them them at any time.

Open the "Analyzing a Problem" Online Model

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