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Critical Thinking: Step 3: Acquisition of Information

Acquiring Information

Step 3: Acquisition of Information

Critical thinking varies based on the underlying motivating factors and the ability to rise to a higher level of thinking to reach the "idealism" of oneself. In addition, critical thinking is based on self-discipline, self-corrective, and self-directed thinking. A well-developed critical thinker will analyze issues as crucial problems and questions arise, and gather and interpret information to draw conclusions to gauge standards and outcomes. One who is open-minded can assess an assumption, implication, and plausible outcomes of an argument or topic debate.

Paul, R. and Elder, L. (2008). The miniature guide to critical thinking concepts and tools. Foundation for Critical Thinking Press. Retrieved from


Cuzzle #2 of 5 (Critical Thinking Puzzle)

"I know that you can be overwhelmed, and I know you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"

—Gabrielle Union (Chastity) in 10 Things I Hate About You

Now, in the movie, this question was just for comedic effect. But let's think about this: Can someone be whelmed? How? And how would we know? 

We can also think of other words we often use, though we rarely use their roots. For example, we often use the word uncanny, but we rarely use the word canny. Antithesis is another example. Outside of research papers, how often do we use the word thesis? Not very often.

Can you think of words we use often, even though we rarely use their roots? Moreover, why do you think we do this?

Critical Thinking: Spectrum of Authority

University of British Columbia. (2011, May 4). Critical thinking 101: Spectrum of authority [Video file]. Retrieved from

Watch the video and think about these questions:

What are the differences between visionary and practical arguments?

Which kind of argument do you typically use? 

Where on the spectrum do your opinions generally fall? 

Acquisition of Information

Foundation for Critical Thinking Press. The Critical Thinking Community. (2013). Defining critical thinking. Retrieved on June 7, 2015, from,

This graphic illustrates that it's not enough to simply understand how critical thinking works. We must use it in our studies and our daily lives, and be willing to accept the results its processes create. We must embrace it from start to finish. Let's think about the popular television show Undercover Boss. In that show, CEOs of highly successful companies are trained at creating profitable business models. They understand supply and demand as it relates to their offerings, whether that's fast food, retail, or waste removal. So, they use critical thinking on a daily basis. However, when they go undercover and witness first-hand what their front-line employees experience, they gain a new understanding of their companies from different perspectives. Often, the things they learn aren't pretty. In response, they think critically and create new training approaches, new accommodations, and new quality measures to ensure their employees—at all levels—will have more rewarding experiences working at their companies. THAT is thinking critically and embracing its results.