Critical thinking is one of many vital skills that learners must develop in order to successfully examine research, analyze data, and complete a dissertation. Consider the characteristics and practices associated with the skill of critical thinking. Which of these are more or less beneficial or important than others? How does synthesis integrate into your view of critical thinking?

As the question indicates, the synthesis and usage of the material is what really matters the most. Further, there is a direct linkage between synthesis and critical thinking. Indeed, critical thinking is about evaluating and assessing an issue properly. As the question indicates, there is more than one sub-section to critical analysis. One way to approach it is to look at the what, where, when and why. Some of those are indeed more important than others. Knowing the “what” and the “when” are important. However, knowing the “why” and the “how” are even more important. Knowing those first two is not relevant or worthwhile unless the last two are also present. It may take some research and review to get those latter two figured out. However, it is something that is necessary to do.

Synthesis is about considering and properly analyzing the whole problem. Given that, it takes proper critical thinking to properly synthesize a situation and paradigm. The more complex the issue, the more important this all becomes. Put another way, there must be a complete and extensive review of the problem. Every little detail matters. This would include the context, the limitations, the people involved, what those people manage, what is controllable, what is not and so forth. Proper synthesis and critical analysis means that a full review is done. A decision should only be made when the proper degree of critical analysis and synthesis has been completed. There are other parts to the puzzle such as working with others, accepting feedback and so forth. However, the critical analysis/synthesis part is non-optional for there to be an optimal outcomes.

A real-world example that would involve both critical analysis and synthesis would be the current crisis in Houston and the surrounding areas. Critical analysis is needed to help allocate resources, money and so forth. Synthesis would be about how all of those parts work together and how best to make them work with the proper synergy and co-existence. Indeed, things should be kept as efficient and expedient as possible while also delivering what is needed and necessary.

Saade, Morin, and Thomas (2012) describe critical thinking as the mental processes of discernment, analysis, and evaluation applied to information in order to achieve a logical final understanding and/or judgment. Describe your approach to breaking down information into component parts to better understand the characteristics of a statement, concept, or problem. How might outlining help to develop understanding? How do you know when to reach beyond previous experience and seek out other sources of information to enhance your understanding of the work in front of you?

The first thing I would do is assess what question or issue I am truly trying to address. To keep with the generic example from the prior answer, one can stick with the teen birth rate going down. What would commonly be sought in terms of that rate falling is what precisely is causing the rate to fall. As noted with the prior answer, there are a number of possibilities. It could also be a combination of more than one possibility. As such, I would then say to myself that I need to find evidence and examples of data that point to why the rate is…

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