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How to Improve Your Analytical Thinking Skills
Transcript of How to Improve Your Analytical Thinking Skills
Break information into parts!
After using the 4 steps ask yourself "has this solved my problem? Does my evidence support my main idea and back up my conclusion?" If yes, then you've successfully had an analytical thought process.
Why is it important to ask and answer questions?
To think through or rethink anything, you need to ask questions that stimulates your mind.
Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues.
As you answer questions, you turn information into material that you can use to achieve goals.
Only students who have questions are really thinking and learning.
"Only students who have questions are really thinking and learning."
Know why you question.
Start by defining your purpose: What am I trying to accomplish, and why am I questioning this?
For example, if Jimmy's purpose for questioning were to find another part-time job, that would generate an entirely different set of questions. The more you continue your thought process the more specific your questions will get.
Research your topic and analyze how much information you need and how much time to spend gathering it. (This involves setting short term goals and using your time appropriately and efficiently.)
Search for the two most relevant parts of the information: The main idea (argument or view point) and the Supporting evidence (reasons or supporting details)
Identify the evidence. For each main idea, identify the evidence that supports it. Every main idea must have the facts, studies or other evidence cited to support the truth of the claim.
Separate the ideas. Identify each of the ideas from what you are reading. Using lists or mind maps can help separate the ideas from one another.
This is the most significant step to take, it lies at the heart of analytical thinking.
Examine the information to see whether it is going to be useful for your purposes. Keep your mind open to all useful information, even if it conflicts with your personal views. Set aside personal opinions when you analyze information, consider yourself a referee and keep an open mind for both teams.
Examine and evaluate
The next four questions will help you sort through the facts.
Examine and Evaluate
Do examples support ideas?
When you encounter an idea or claim, examine how it is supported with facts. How useful an idea is to your work may depend on whether, or how well it is backed up with solid evidence.
Is the info factual or is it opinion?
A statement of fact is information presented as real and verifiable. On the other hand a statement of opinion is a belief, a judgement that is difficult and sometimes impossible. When you evaluate materials, one test is to see if its fact or opinion.
Do causes and effects link logically?
Look at the reasons given for a situation or occurrence(causes) and the explanation of its consequences(effects: positive and negative). It is important that you analyze carefully to seek out key or root causes- the most significant causes of a problem or situation.
Is the evidence biased?
Evidence with a bias opinion is evidence that is slanted in a particular direction. Searching for a bias involves looking for hidden perspectives or assumptions. A perspective can be broad or more focused. Perspectives are associated with assumptions- a judgment, generalization, or bias influenced by experience and values.
The last part of analytical thinking, after you have broken info apart, is to find new logical ways to connect the pieces together.
Compare and Contrast- look at how ideas are similar to, or different from each other.
Look for themes, patterns and categories- note connections that form as you look at how bits of info relate.
WHAT IS ANALYTICAL THINKING?
Analytical thinking is the capacity to examine and break down evidences and opinions into their strengths and weaknesses. Developing the capacity to think in a thoughtful, discerning way, to solve problems, analyze data, and recall and use information.