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Critical Thinking Skills

Scheffer and Rubenfeld discuss critical thinking habits and critical thinking skills. For each of the critical thinking skills shown below, they give a number of activity statements.


1. Analyzing
  • Separating or breaking a whole into parts to discover their nature, functional and relationships.
  • "I studied it piece by piece"
  • "I sorted things out"

2. Applying Standards
  • Judging according to established personal, professional, or social rules or criteria.
  • "I judged it according to..."

3. Discriminating
  • Recognizing differences and similarities among things or situations and distinguishing carefully as to category or rank.
  • "I rank ordered the various..."
  • "I grouped things together"

4. Information Seeking
  • Searching for evidence, facts, or knowledge by identifying relevant sources and gathering objective, subjective, historical, and current data from those sources
  • "I knew I needed to lookup/study..."
  • "I kept searching for data."

5. Logical Reasoning
  • Drawing inferences or conclusions that are supported in or justified by evidence
  • "I deduced from the information that..."
  • "My rationale for the conclusion was..."

6. Predicting
  • Envisioning a plan and its consequences
  • "I envisioned the outcome would be..."
  • "I was prepared for..."

7. Transforming Knowledge
  • Changing or converting the condition, nature, form, or function of concepts among contexts
  • "I improved on the basics by..."
  • "I wondered if that would fit the situation of ..."

Courtesy of B. K. Scheffer and M.G. Rubenfeld, "A Consensus Statement on Critical Thinking in Nursing," Journal of Nursing Education, 39, 352-9 (2000).

Courtesy of B. K. Scheffer and M.G. Rubenfeld, "Critical Thinking: What Is It and How Do We Teach It?," Current Issues in Nursing, J.M. Grace, Rubl, H.K. (2001).