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Critical Thinking Tutorial: The Big Picture

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Before you Begin

Before you begin, reflect on what it means to think.

  • Is thinking an active or passive process?
  • Is thinking conscious or unconscious?
  • Is thinking being vocal or inner dialogue?
  • Is thinking always about weighing the stakes?

When solving a problem, do you think analytically, carefully considering the steps you might follow, or do you rely on intuition? Some say that intuition is formed by our beliefs or lessons learned as children. Do you agree? How often do you find yourself accepting something as true based on what you've been taught?

Now consider what it means to think critically. What distinguishes everyday thoughts and intuition from your ability to think critically?

Look at these everyday decisions. Which, if any, require you to think critically? If you were to rank these decisions, which would require the most critical thought and which would require the least?

  • What time to wake up?
  • What to eat for supper?
  • Whether to purchase a lottery ticket?
  • What political party to vote for?
  • Whether to undergo a medical procedure?

Reflect on why some decisions require you to think more actively, deeply, or critically than others?

Interactive Video

This video about critical thinking highlights how seeking context, considering multiple perspectives, asking questions, and analyzing evidence surpasses shallow or passive thinking, which, as you will discover, can lead to over-generalizations, prejudice, fallacies, and cognitive biases.

Watch attentively and respond to the questions to test your understanding. You cannot skip ahead, but you can watch it at 1.5 times the speed  and rewind in ten-second intervals , if needed.

Source: Critical Thinking (Open Educational Resource) | eCampus Ontario | McMaster University | MacSSC
licensed through YouTube by McMaster University.