Critical Thinking Self-Assessment So, are you a critical thinker? Paul and Elder (2001), who are considered authorities on the subject, describe in the following list how critical thinkers form an opinion. How frequently do you engage in the behaviors below? • • • • • • • I restate my understanding of the issue in my own words. I don’t let others define the topic, but instead take the time to clarify my understanding by putting the issue into words that make sense to me. I formulate my own questions to delve deeper. I sift through the questions being asked and choose those that I feel need to be answered. I add my own questions to help me delve into the particulars of a topic. I read a variety of articles that represent differing views to help me develop an informed outlook. I don’t focus on one source or perspective. I rely on sources of high academic quality. I try to listen to various opinions on the topic. I don’t limit my viewing or listening to just one media source. I form an opinion about the topic based on my own thinking. I list the pros and cons of various views, evaluate the authority of each source, and question each perspective’s applicability to real life and ability to see the big picture. I use logic, reasoning, and facts to state the reasons I hold my opinion. I can write or speak my opinion in such a way that others can follow my reasoning and accept the case I’ve built based on facts as I present them. I remain open to exploring different perspectives on the topic. I revisit and reconsider previously held opinions, particularly when new information comes to light.