Diana Halpern's (1996)
Framework for Critical Thinking
Definition: Critical thinking is the use of
cognitive skills or strategies that increase
the probability of a good outcome. CT is
purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed.
Answer the following questions:
1. What is the goal?
First step in improving thinking is to be clear
about the goal or goals. Sometimes there are
multiple goals; sometimes the goal changes as
we work on a problem. If the overall goal is not
OPERATIONAL (i.e., "get a good grade" or
"reach a good decision"), then identify
operational goals (write clearly, address all
elements of the assignment, evaluate the
consequences of alternative decisions).
2. What is known?
Review what is known. You may know more
than you realize, once you start taking a census.
You may also realize that some of the
apparently information is not certain at all. If
you are completing an assignment or solving a
problem for someone else, review guidelines for
the assignment and ask yourself what the person
cares about and values in a solution.
3. Which thinking skills will get you to
your goal? [apply skills]
How will you get there? Generate some tactics,
strategies. Diagram the problem. Analyze
written materials for underlying assumptions.
Consider the credibility of evidence and experts.
Scrutinize words for ambiguity, emotional bias,
flawed logic. What are the limitations of
metaphors or analogies? Ask questions.
Explain the problem to someone else to get a
better grasp on it yourself.
4. Have you reached your goal?
Did you solve the problem you set out to solve? Check your solution against the criteria. Does it work? Are all subgoals addressed? Does you solution exhibit the qualities that your audience/customer/employer values?