Uploaded by Mary Joyce Ramos

Characteristics of Critical Readers

Characteristics of Critical Readers
They are honest with themselves
They resist manipulation
They overcome confusion
They ask questions
They base judgments on evidence
They look for connections between subjects
They are intellectually independent
Ask yourself the following questions as you read:
 What is the topic of the book or reading?
What issues are addressed?
 What conclusion does the author reach about the issue(s)?
 What are the author's reasons for his or her statements or belief?
Is the author using facts, theory, or faith?
Facts can be proven
Theory is to be proved and should not be confused with fact
Opinions may or may not be based on sound reasoning
Faith is not subject to proof by its nature
 Has the author used neutral words or emotional words?
Critical readers look beyond the language to see if the reasons are clear
 Be aware of why you do, or do not, accept arguments of the author
Why is critical thinking important?
When Kruchin talks about the development of ideas in writing, she
is referring to critical thinking – the ability to think clearly and form a
Writing, she says, shows how a person thinks. Students who have not learned
to think critically often have a hard time developing ideas in writing.
Schools and employers put a high value on critical thinking skills. The
importance of critical thinking shows up on standardized tests, such as the
SAT with its "Critical Reading" and "Writing and Language" sections.
Such tests measure how well students understand arguments, judge
information, and make inferences. These skills are very important for
success not only in school, but also in the workplace.
Diane F. Halpern is a professor of psychology emerita at Claremont McKenna
College in California. She writes that critical thinking is an important skill to
develop in life.
"Critical thinking is using the skills or strategies that are most likely to lead
to a desired outcome. It is the sort of thinking we should be engaging in when
deciding what and whom to believe, which of two job offers to accept, or
whether vaccinations really do cause autism."
Halpern adds that critical thinking is a skill that is important in the modern
job market.
"Those who care about the future for today’s children understand that the
jobs of the future will require the ability to think critically. So let’s be sure
that our students are ready for college, careers and citizenship by including
deliberate instruction in critical thinking. It is probably the most difficult
topic to teach and learn, but it is also the most important."
Critical thinking is hard to teach and hard to learn
Babi Kruchin of Columbia agrees that critical thinking is hard to teach and
difficult to learn. She says that students can overcome grammar and
vocabulary problems. Developing an original idea, then supporting it, is what
students find difficult.
"Sometimes the writer might think 'Oh! I have the topic sentence, I have the
supporting details.' But there is no depth of thought … How do you
really analyze and interpret and explain all these ideas?
"You can take care of the grammar, you can take care of the vocabulary, you
can take care of the format, but the depth of development – the critical
thinking part of writing – is, I think, the greatest issue that any domestic or
international student faces ...
"It's not articles, it's not conjunctions – because these are all teachable
things, and these are all learnable things. And critical thinking is also
teachable, and students are able to learn, but it's harder to teach and to
Practical tips:
So, if learning critical thinking is difficult, what can you do?
Kruchin suggests that students can start improving their writing and critical
thinking skills by reading.
Students, however, should not read without a goal in mind. Students should
be active readers by studying how other writers build their arguments. In
other words, they should consider the critical thinking of each author they
have read.
Kruchin says that students should consider the writing of an author by asking
a few simple questions while reading:
"How is the content organized here? How is the writer connecting these
ideas? Look at the quote that the writer used. What comes after this quote?
Does the writer just leave it as is, or analyze it and adds his or her own
The goal of this exercise, Kruchin says, is for students to develop the ability to
understand how others think. In addition, it helps students to discover the
critical thinking resources that they have inside themselves.
"Because writing is thinking, it is a reflection of how somebody thinks. So it is
the constant exercise of seeing how other authors think and then training the
students to …
"I don't think we teach critical thinking. It is almost a way to get the students
to see inside and see that yes, they do think critically – we all have opinions,
we all have judgments. But how do we voice them in an academic form?
"It is an exercise in using the resources that are already exist within the
students. I don't believe they are less intelligent; some may not be as well
trained in this discourse."
What can you do?
The next time you are reading a book or an opinion piece in a newspaper, try
to ask yourself some of the following questions:
What is the argument that the writer is making?
What evidence does the writer use?
How does the writer present their ideas?
How is the writer connecting their ideas?
How does the writer evaluate information?
Asking these questions will give you a point to start understanding how other
people think. It will also help you to think about how you can write better –
and practice your critical thinking skills, too.
To read critically is to exercise your judgement about what you are reading – that is, not
taking anything you read at face value.
The benefits of critical reading is given below:
1. To discover author's argument to understand the texts.
2. Helps to organize main ideas from a given topic.
3. Helps to understand more difficult reading assignment and to obtain a better
understanding for what was read.
4. Helps to make opinions and assumptions based on what is read.
5. Helps base judgement on evidence.
7 Steps to Improving Your
Critical Thinking
By Tara Struyk on 29 August 20123 comments
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Every day, I’m amazed at the amount of information I consume; I listen to the news on my
morning run, scan the papers while I’m eating breakfast, check my social media accounts
throughout the day, and watch some TV before I go to bed, all while getting constant
updates via email and Twitter. That’s pretty overwhelming on its own, but things get really
interesting when some of that information is biased, inaccurate, or just plain made up. It
makes it hard to know what to believe. But even with all the competing sources and
opinions out there, getting the truth — or at least close to it — matters. What you believe
affects what you buy, what you do, who you vote for, and even how you feel. In other
words, it virtually dictates how you live your life.
So how can you sort the wheat from the chaff? Well, one clear way is by learning to think
more critically. Critical thinking is as simple as it sounds — it’s just a way of thinking that
helps you get a little closer to the best answer. So the next time you have a problem to
solve, a decision to make or a claim to evaluate, you can decide whether it’s likely to be
true — and if you should do anything about it. Here’s how. (See also:
How to Improve Your
Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter))
1. Don’t Take Anything at Face Value
The first step to thinking critically is to learn to evaluate what you hear, what you read, and
what you decide to do. So, rather than doing something because it’s what you’ve always
done or accepting what you’ve heard as the truth, spend some time just thinking. What’s
the problem? What are the possible solutions? What are the pros and cons of each? Of
course, you still have to decide what to believe and what to do, but if you really evaluate
things, you’re likely to make a better, more reasoned choice.
2. Consider Motive
We recently got a call from our cellular service provider about changing our very old,
cheap cell phone plan. They claimed they could give us a new plan that would provide
better value. But why, my partner asked, would the company be interested in pursuing us
so that we could pay less? Aren’t companies generally interested in making more money?
Good question, right? And the reason we were asking it is because we questioned the
cellular phone company’s motives. What they said just didn’t make sense.
Where information is coming from is a key part of thinking critically about it. Everyone has a
motive and a bias. Sometimes, like the cellular phone company, it’s pretty obvious; other
times, it’s a lot harder to detect. Just know that where any information comes from should
affect how you evaluate it — and whether you decide to act on it.
3. Do Your Research
All the information that gets thrown at us on a daily basis can be overwhelming, but if you
decide to take matters into your own hands, it can also be a very powerful tool. If you have
a problem to solve, a decision to make, or a perspective to evaluate, get onto Google and
start reading about it. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to think
things through and come up with a reasonable answer to your query.
4. Ask Questions
I sometimes find myself shying away from questions. They can make me feel like a bit of a
dummy, especially when whoever’s fielding them isn’t receptive. But mostly, I can’t help
myself. I just need to know! And once you go down that rabbit hole, you not only learn
more, but often discover whole new ways of thinking about things. I think those other
perspectives can also help you get closer to thinking through a problem or uncovering
what’s what, which brings me to my next point ...
5. Don’t Assume You’re Right
I know it’s hard. I struggle with the hard-headed desire to be right as much as the next
person. Because being right feels awesome. It’s an ego trip almost everyone aims to take at
some time or another. But assuming you’re right will often put you on the wrong track when
it comes to thinking critically. Because if you don’t take in other perspectives and points of
view, and think them over, and compare them to your own, you really aren’t doing much
thinking at all — and certainly not the critical kind.
6. Break It Down
Being able to see the big picture is often touted as a great quality, but I’d wager that being
able to see that picture for all its components is even better. After all, most problems are
too big to solve all at once, but they can be broken down into smaller parts. The smaller the
parts, the easier it’ll be to evaluate them individually and arrive at a solution. This is
essentially what scientists do; before they can figure out how a bigger system — such as
our bodies or an ecosystem — works, they have to understand all the parts of that system,
how they work, and how they relate to each other.
7. Keep It Simple
In the scientific community, a line of reasoning called Occam’s razor is often used to decide
which hypothesis is most likely to be true. This means finding the simplest explanation that
fits all facts. This is what you would call the most obvious explanation, and the one that
should be preferred, at least until it’s proven wrong. Often, Occam’s razor is just plain
common sense. Sure, it’s possible that the high-priced skin cream on TV will
make you look
20 years younger — even though you’ve never heard of it, and neither has anyone else.
What’s more likely is that the model shown in the ad really is 20 years old.
Critical thinking isn’t easy. It involves letting go of what we want to believe and embracing a
whole bunch of new information. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s also interesting. And when you
do your research and finally lay out what you believe to be the facts, you’ll probably be
surprised by what you uncover. It might not be what you were expecting, but chances are
it’ll be closer to the truth.
What is critical thinking?
Module: Critical thinking
C00. Introduction
C01. What is critical thinking?
C02. Improve our thinking skills
C03. Defining critical thinking
C04. Teaching critical thinking
C05. Beyond critical thinking
C06. The Cognitive Reflection Test
C07. Critical thinking assessment
C08. Videos and courses on critical thinking
C09. Famous quotes
Quote of the page
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probably reason why so few engage in it.
- Henry Ford
Help us promote
critical thinking!
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Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It
includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking
skills is able to do the following :
understand the logical connections between ideas
identify, construct and evaluate arguments
detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
solve problems systematically
identify the relevance and importance of ideas
reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values
Critical thinking is not a matter of accumulating information. A person with a good memory and who
knows a lot of facts is not necessarily good at critical thinking. A critical thinker is able to deduce
consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems,
and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself.
Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people.
Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can
also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us
acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to
enhance work processes and improve social institutions.
Some people believe that critical thinking hinders creativity because it requires following the rules of
logic and rationality, but creativity might require breaking rules. This is a misconception. Critical thinking
is quite compatible with thinking "out-of-the-box", challenging consensus and pursuing less popular
approaches. If anything, critical thinking is an essential part of creativity because we need critical
thinking to evaluate and improve our creative ideas.
§1. The importance of critical thinking
Critical thinking is a domain-general thinking skill. The ability to think clearly and rationally is important
whatever we choose to do. If you work in education, research, finance, management or the legal
profession, then critical thinking is obviously important. But critical thinking skills are not restricted to a
particular subject area. Being able to think well and solve problems systematically is an asset for any
Critical thinking is very important in the new knowledge economy. The global knowledge economy is
driven by information and technology. One has to be able to deal with changes quickly and effectively.
The new economy places increasing demands on flexible intellectual skills, and the ability to analyse
information and integrate diverse sources of knowledge in solving problems. Good critical thinking
promotes such thinking skills, and is very important in the fast-changing workplace.
Critical thinking enhances language and presentation skills. Thinking clearly and systematically can
improve the way we express our ideas. In learning how to analyse the logical structure of texts, critical
thinking also improves comprehension abilities.
Critical thinking promotes creativity. To come up with a creative solution to a problem involves not just
having new ideas. It must also be the case that the new ideas being generated are useful and relevant to
the task at hand. Critical thinking plays a crucial role in evaluating new ideas, selecting the best ones and
modifying them if necessary
Critical thinking is crucial for self-reflection. In order to live a meaningful life and to structure our lives
accordingly, we need to justify and reflect on our values and decisions. Critical thinking provides the
tools for this process of self-evaluation.
Good critical thinking is the foundation of science and democracy. Science requires the critical use of
reason in experimentation and theory confirmation. The proper functioning of a liberal democracy
requires citizens who can think critically about social issues to inform their judgments about proper
governance and to overcome biases and prejudice.
§2. The future of critical thinking
In January 2016, the World Economic Forum issued a report "The Future of Jobs". It says:
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as
artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and
biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets
over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new
The top three skills that supposed to be most relevant are thinking skills related to critical thinking,
creativity, and their practical application. These are the cognitive skills that our website focuses on.
§3. For teachers
The ideas on this page were discussed in a blog post on edutopia. The author uses the critical
thinking framework here to apply to K-12 education. Very relevant to school teachers!
TIP sheet
Skimming and scanning are reading techniques that use rapid eye movement and keywords to
move quickly through text for slightly different purposes. Skimming is reading rapidly in order to
get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts.
While skimming tells you what general information is within a section, scanning helps you locate
a particular fact. Skimming is like snorkeling, and scanning is more like pearl diving.
Use skimming in previewing (reading before you read), reviewing (reading after you read),
determining the main idea from a long selection you don't wish to read, or when trying to find
source material for a research paper.
Use scanning in research to find particular facts, to study fact-heavy topics, and to answer
questions requiring factual support.
Skimming to save time
Skimming can save you hours of laborious reading. However, it is not always the most
appropriate way to read. It is very useful as a preview to a more detailed reading or when
reviewing a selection heavy in content. But when you skim, you may miss important points or
overlook the finer shadings of meaning, for which rapid reading or perhaps even study reading
may be necessary.
Use skimming to overview your textbook chapters or to review for a test. Use skimming to
decide if you need to read something at all, for example during the preliminary research for a
paper. Skimming can tell you enough about the general idea and tone of the material, as well
as its gross similarity or difference from other sources, to know if you need to read it at all.
To skim, prepare yourself to move rapidly through the pages. You will not read every word; you
will pay special attention to typographical cues-headings, boldface and italic type, indenting,
bulleted and numbered lists. You will be alert for key words and phrases, the names of people
and places, dates, nouns, and unfamiliar words. In general follow these steps:
1. Read the table of contents or chapter overview to learn the main divisions of ideas.
2. Glance through the main headings in each chapter just to see a word or two. Read
the headings of charts and tables.
3. Read the entire introductory paragraph and then the first and last sentence only of each
following paragraph. For each paragraph, read only the first few words of each sentence or
to locate the main idea.
4. Stop and quickly read the sentences containing keywords indicated in boldface or italics.
5. When you think you have found something significant, stop to read the entire sentence to
make sure. Then go on the same way. Resist the temptation to stop to read details you don't
6. Read chapter summaries when provided.
If you cannot complete all the steps above, compromise: read only the chapter overviews and
summaries, for example, or the summaries and all the boldfaced keywords. When you skim,
you take a calculated risk that you may miss something. For instance, the main ideas of
paragraphs are not always found in the first or last sentences (although in many textbooks they
are). Ideas you miss you may pick up in a chapter overview or summary.
Good skimmers do not skim everything at the same rate or give equal attention to everything.
While skimming is always faster than your normal reading speed, you should slow down in the
following situations:
When you skim introductory and concluding paragraphs
When you skim topic sentences
When you find an unfamiliar word
When the material is very complicated
Scanning for research and study
Scanning, too, uses keywords and organizational cues. But while the goal of skimming is a
bird's-eye view of the material, the goal of scanning is to locate and swoop down on particular
Facts may be buried within long text passages that have relatively little else to do with your
topic or claim. Skim this material first to decide if it is likely to contain the facts you need. Don't
forget to scan tables of contents, summaries, indexes, headings, and typographical cues. To
make sense of lists and tables, skim them first to understand how they are organized:
alphabetical, chronological, or most-to-least, for example. If after skimming you decide the
material will be useful, go ahead and scan:
1. Know what you're looking for. Decide on a few key words or phrases–search terms, if you
will. You will be a flesh-and-blood search engine.
2. Look for only one keyword at a time. If you use multiple keywords, do multiple scans.
3. Let your eyes float rapidly down the page until you find the word or phrase you want.
4. When your eye catches one of your keywords, read the surrounding material carefully.
Scanning to answer questions
If you are scanning for facts to answer a specific question, one step is already done for you: the
question itself supplies the keywords. Follow these steps:
1. Read each question completely before starting to scan. Choose your keywords from the
question itself.
2. Look for answers to only one question at a time. Scan separately for each question.
3. When you locate a keyword, read the surrounding text carefully to see if it is relevant.
4. Re-read the question to determine if the answer you found answers this question.
Scanning is a technique that requires concentration and can be surprisingly tiring. You may
have to practice at not allowing your attention to wander. Choose a time and place that you
know works for you and dive in.
Summary Table
A fast reading method that gives you an idea of what the text
is about without having to read it in full
A fast reading method that allows you to find
specific information in a text
Means reading the introduction, the headlines, or the first phrase
of a paragraph
Means going through an article quickly lookin
for a date or a quote
Implies not having read the text before
Implies previously knowing the information y
are looking for
A girl reading a book
Skimming is a reading technique that allows readers to get the gist of a text without
having to read the whole thing in full. When skimming, people will usually look at
chapters or subtitles, and even at the first phrase of a well-written paragraph. The main
purpose is to get an idea of what the text is about.
Scanning is another method of fast reading, but this one is reserved for people looking
through the text to find specific information. For example, when you are writing a paper
and you quickly look through a text to double check a date, a number or a fact. It’s the
same thing a computer does with the “find” function, but you have to do it yourself.
Skimming vs Scanning
The difference between skimming and scanning consists of purpose and technique.
Skimming is a reading technique meant to give you an idea of what the full text is about.
Scanning is meant to help you find specific information in a text.
Skimming techniques include reading the introduction, the headlines, or the first phrase
of the paragraph. On the other hand, scanning means looking over the whole text
quickly in search of specific information.
You skim a text at first sight and decide on whether to read it in full. However, when it
comes to scanning, it is implied that you know at least the information you are looking
You can spot people scanning a text as they will be more concerned with the form of
words and will tend to use their fingers to go through the text and not jump around. A
must in case of scanning is that the reader knows what information he is looking for.
On the other hand, people can use skimming to decide whether they will read the text in
full. You can use this technique in the library to tell whether a book contains the
necessary information for a paper, or in a bookshop to see whether a book is worth
Difference between Skimming and Scanning
• Categorized under Language,Words | Difference between
Skimming and Scanning
Skimming and scanning are both reading techniques. These
reading skills help students, needing to get information from the
written word, access the required information more
effectively. They use fast reading abilities but in effect are
different methods for different purposes.
What is skimming?
The reader reads an article to get the main ideas and gist of the
story. Skimming is used to preview a book quickly to decide if it is
worth reading or to cast an eye over an article for the main
points. A reader who is skimming can read more text in less
time. The text is read with the purpose of finding the main
facts. The skill of skimming requires a structure or plan so that
not everything is read but the important message is still
grasped. The skimmer reads the first few paragraphs in detail to
get the general message. Then after that reads the first line of
each paragraph, these lines are known as ‘topic sentences.’ The
final paragraph is important as it is the conclusion of the article
and is read in full as the final message of the article.
The act of skimming has other connotations but the overall
message relates to taking something off the top of an item or
moving over the top of something.
An act of taking money or profits off the top of an organisation.
The act of lifting the cream off the top of the milk or the fat off the
top of the liquid. The skimmer only takes the top part of the
Describes the act of throwing a flat stone across the water and
watching it bounce off the surface and skims to the other side.
Can be an act of fraud when a credit card is intercepted and
duplicated so that funds can be skimmed from the account.
What is scanning?
Scanning is a reading skill that enables the reader to look for a
specific piece of information within an item of text. A reader will
scan for a particular number in a phone directory for instance or a
name on a list. The written articles that are scanned are often
written in a particular order or in categories. The scanner has the
key words in mind as they scan the list.
The term scanning can be used to refer to other actions associated
with looking for something in particular.
Searching the horizon looking for something in the distance.
used in the digital world as a machine that scans items to be
copied such as documents and certificates.
Medical technique to look for injury or disease. There are MRI
scans, Magnetic Resonance Image and CT or Computed
Tomography scans to produce images of body structures.
In the final analysis would these two reading techniques really do
justice to reading quality literature? Harold Bloom, a renowned
speed reader, is reputed to be able to ‘read’ 1000 pages in an
hour. He could devour a novel like Jane Eyre in his lunch
break. The average reader would probably have literary
indigestion after such a feast of skimming or scanning a classical
Read more: Difference between Skimming and Scanning |
Between http://www.differencebetween.net/language/differencebetween-skimming-and-scanning/#ixzz6AFWj8CVg
Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples
Critical thinking skills allow you to understand and address a situation based
on all available facts and information. When using critical thinking skills, you
will sort and organize facts, data and other information to define a problem
and develop effective solutions.
It’s a good idea to reflect on the critical thinking skills you currently possess
and what critical thinking skills you may need to develop. You likely already
possess several critical thinking skills that you can include on
your resume and discuss during interviews.
In this article, we’ll discuss what critical thinking is, why it’s important and how
you can improve your skills in this area.
What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the act of analyzing facts to understand a problem or topic
thoroughly. Critical thinking often occurs in order of a few steps from
identifying a problem or issue to developing a solution. Here are common
steps that occur when using critical thinking for problem solving:
Identify a problem or issue
Create inferences on why the problem exists and how it can be solved
Collect information or data on the issue through research
Organize and sort data and findings
Develop and execute solutions
Analyze what solutions worked or didn’t work
Identify ways to improve the solution
Part of being a good critical thinker is being objective. That means analyzing
the problem without allowing emotions or assumptions to influence how you
think about it. Instead, you should only analyze the problem based on the
context and facts you are able to collect.
Critical thinking skills are essential in every industry at every career level, from
entry-level associates to top executives. Good critical thinkers will work both
independently and with groups to solve problems.
Why are critical thinking skills important?
Critical thinking skills are important because they help businesses run
smoothly by solving problems, developing solutions and creating new ideas.
Many areas of improvement like process inefficiencies, management or
finances can be improved by using critical thought. Because of this,
employers value and seek out candidates who have demonstrated strong
critical thinking skills.
For example, if you’re working in human resources and must resolve a conflict
between two employees, you will use critical thinking to understand the nature
of the conflict and what action should be taken to resolve it.
Critical thinking skills list and examples
There are several various critical thinking skills you may find valuable to
include on your resume. Here are a few examples:
1. Observation
Observational skills are the starting point for critical thinking. Employees who
are observant can quickly sense and identify a new problem. Those skilled in
observation are also capable of understanding why something might be a
problem, and may even be able to predict when a problem might occur before
it happens based on their experience.
2. Analysis
Once a problem has been identified, analysis skills become essential. The
ability to analyze the situation includes knowing what facts, data or information
about the problem are important. You will also find analysis is an essential
skill to eventually solving the problem.
3. Inference
Inference is a skill that involves drawing conclusions about the information you
collect and may require you to possess technical or industry-specific
knowledge or experience. When you infer information about a situation, that
means you are developing answers based on limited information. For
example, a car mechanic may need to utilize inference skills to determine
what is causing a car’s engine to stall at seemingly random times.
4. Communication
Communication skills are important when it comes time to explain and discuss
issues and their possible solutions with colleagues and other stakeholders.
Communication is an important skill to have and improve on for many
purposes at work including critical thinking.
5. Problem solving
After you’ve identified a problem, analyzed it and discussed possible
solutions, the final step is to execute the solution. Problem solving often
requires critical thinking to implement the best solution and understand
whether or not the solution is working as it relates to the goal.
How to improve your critical thinking
While you might already possess many of the skills above, you might also
consider your areas for improvement—especially for specific skills listed on a
job description you’re applying for. It’s possible to improve your critical
thinking skills through practice and extended educational opportunities.
To improve your critical thinking skills, consider taking some of the following
Expand your industry-specific or technical skills to help you more easily
identify problems
Take additional courses in your industry that require critical thinking and
Actively volunteer to solve problems for your current employer
Seek advice from professionals in your field or desired industry
Play solo and cooperative games that require critical thinking skills,
such as analysis and inference
Asking a friend or colleague to assess your current skill set can also help
provide you with an objective view of your strengths. You may find it
necessary to practice your critical thinking skills to improve the strength of
your resume, or to help with career advancement.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to think in an organized and rational manner in order to
understand connections between ideas and/or facts. It helps you decide what to believe
in. In other words, it’s “thinking about thinking”—identifying, analyzing, and then fixing
flaws in the way we think.
How to Be a Critical Thinker?
To become one takes time, practice, and patience. But something you can start
doing today to improve your critical thinking skills is apply the 7 steps of critical thinking
to every problem you tackle—either at work or in your everyday life.
Plus, there are some critical thinking questions to help you out at each of the steps.
Steps of Critical Thinking
1. Identify the problem or question.
Be as precise as possible: the narrower the issue, the easier it is to find solutions or
2. Gather data, opinions, and arguments.
Try to find several sources that present different ideas and points of view.
3. Analyze and evaluate the data.
Are the sources reliable? Are their conclusions data-backed or just argumentative? Is
there enough information or data to support given hypotheses?
4. Identify assumptions.
Are you sure the sources you found are unbiased? Are you sure you weren’t biased in
your search for answers?
5. Establish significance.
What piece of information is most important? Is the sample size sufficient? Are all
opinions and arguments even relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve?
6. Make a decision/reach a conclusion.
Identify various conclusions that are possible and decide which (if any) of them are
sufficiently supported. Weigh strengths and limitations of all possible options.
7. Present or communicate.
Once you’ve reached a conclusion, present it to all stakeholders.
Let’s go back to our coffee example and examine it critically, point-by-point.
1. The problem in question was: “is drinking coffee good for you?”
This approach is way to broad.
First of all, what does “good” even mean?
Secondly, we don’t know if we’re talking about long- or short-term effects of drinking
coffee. It’s also possible that drinking coffee might benefit some aspects of your health
while being detrimental to others.
So, let’s narrow down the problem to: “is drinking coffee good for your heart?”
2. Listed above, there are only two pieces of research on the impact of drinking
coffee on your heart.
The first one suggests that drinking coffee “could account for premature deaths in the
region of 14% for coronary heart disease and 20% for stroke.”
According to the second one, “moderate coffee consumption was associated with a
lower prevalence of the Coronary Artery Disease.”
We’ve made two other major mistakes in reasoning: first of all, two sources only
are not enough.
Secondly, we haven’t taken into account that heart is a very complex organ: just like it is
the case with the rest of our body, coffee might be good for some of its functions while
bad for others.
3. Both articles cited have appeared in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals.
The first one has been based on literature review only; no original studies.
The second one, although conducted in a large (25.000 participants) sample of men
and women, includes only Korean population—people whose hearts can be affected by
other factors such as diet or climate.
4. While the two sources don’t appear biased, we were.
We based our initial Google searches on assumptions: “reasons not to drink coffee”
(assuming: coffee is bad for our health) and “reasons to drink coffee” (assuming: coffee
is worth drinking).
Google’s search algorithms made sure we found articles in line with our assumptions.
5. Considering all of the above, we can positively state that the information we
gathered was not significant for solving the initially stated problem.
6. The only conclusion that can be reached is: according to the data we gathered,
drinking coffee might or might not be good for our hearts, depending on many
factors and variables we failed to take into account.
7. Even if the conclusion is “the question cannot be answered at this point,” it’s
still worth presenting and communicating.
It’s good to know what the limitations of our knowledge on a given topic are.
The point is—
It’s really hard to be sure of something.
And critical thinking skills are necessary for us to accept the flaws in our reasoning and
gaps in our knowledge, and take advantage of them!
Why Are Critical Thinking Skills Important?
When you think critically, you’ll constantly challenge what seems given. Say, in your job,
even if something appears to be functioning properly, critical thinking will help you try
and identify new, better solutions.
Critical thinking skills are the cornerstone of self-development and improvement. That’s
why they’re so critical to have in today’s job market.
Just think about this—
A recent report by the AACU revealed that 93% of employers value critical thinking over
the candidate’s undergraduate degree. So—
Let’s go through how you can showcase your critical thinking skills to boost your
chances of landing a better job!
And if you want to learn more about other job-winning skills, we've got you
covered! Check out our dedicated guides:
Communication Skills for Your Resume & Workplace Success
Management Skills You Must Have (Not Just For Managers)
Technical Skills for Resume & Daily Job
Computer Skills Employers Want in 2019
Soft Skills vs Hard Skills for a Job: What Employers Look for
What are the differences
between skimming and
scanning skills?
Toan Ngo
September 5, 2018
We all understand that there’s so much going on in the world. When
we slightly step backwards or move a little bit slower, we may be
left behind. No matter what kind of reading materials you’re
approaching, whether it’s a newspaper in your hands or a kind of
digital posts, you’ll probably save a lot of time when using skimming
and scanning skills. Although these two techniques of reading have
always been being practiced by many people, some still find it quite
difficult to tell them apart. So what are those kinds of
techniques? Are there many differences between skimming
and scanning?
This article will point out the differences between skimming and
scanning, when and how to use them effectively. Stay patient!
Basic differences between Skimming and Scanning
1. Let’s imagine to better understand
Although skimming and scanning are techniques for fast reading
that help you read well in a shorter time, the differences between
skimming and scanning may take a couple of minutes to be
explained. However, understanding it is an interesting experience,
don’t be discouraged.
Image by
Pexcels via Pixabay
Now let’s try to imagine reading as attending a buffet party.
There’re so many dishes nicely displayed. Skimming is when
you take a look around and tell yourself “ok, this party’s worth
my next couple of hours ”. Then, it’s time for you to do the scanning
job, selecting what to put on your dish because of the fact that you
can’t have them all.
2. Short definitions for skimming and
Sometimes, of course, giving definitions will truly do us a favor.
Take a good look at two short paragraphs below to better
understand skimming and scanning.
Skimming is a process of reading to get an overall view or get an
impression of the content. This is when you pick out the main
ideas or messages.
Scanning, on the other hand, requires you to look for a particular
word or phrase. You can totally ignore unnecessary ones. If you’re
reading, you must be having or about to have questions to be
answered, just wisely choose what to read and quickly get
what may benefit.
When to use Scanning and when to use Skimming
The differences between skimming and scanning are crystal clear.
Skimming helps you tell what the general information is, while
scanning helps you position a particular piece of information. In
fact, you have to understand your purposes of reading in order
to apply a proper technique. You have to be the most flexible reader
you can become. The variability of the situations requires you to be
Keep reading if you don’t know when to use these two different
1. When to use skimming
Skimming has always been one of the most selected ways when it
comes to
FAST READING. Before putting any effort into studying
a document, practising skimming can be a good hand in previewing.
You can use skimming before entering a new chapter of your
textbook or a long article. To be simply said, most people refer to
use skimming when they need to save time. Time-saving has
always been one of the top priorities of today society. Reading
every word can prevent us from increasing our reading speed.
There’re many situations that spending long hours of laborious
reading can’t do anything well.
Suppose you have to read an academic text and write an essay
about its topic, skimming can’t do all the job as there is too much
information. This skill would help when you’re trying to find out if
something is a waste of time or similar to something else you’ve
already known. Using skimming is an ideal strategy when there are
only a few days left and you’re about to take an examination. In
short, you save your time by skimming.
2. When to use scanning
As convenient as it seems, skimming can’t guarantee you all the
important points. Usually, you need scanning when you find a
friend’s phone number in a telephone book or last night football’s
scores in the newspaper. Or when you’re in a new restaurant
knowing they have your favourite dish but not sure the price is
reasonable, you also need to scan along the menu to see it with the
price. Scanning significantly proves its value when researching
and studying. These two kinds of activity can’t be successful if
they depend on only your general knowledge.
You may also need scanning to locate the correct answer for
given questions. You are likely to scan when you have no
intention of getting a general idea. Obviously, if you have no doubt
of your purposes for reading and other unrelated information is far
from support, now take scanning into your consideration. Scanning
is perfect when it comes to looking for something more
particular rather than an overview idea in your mind.
3. Skimming and Scanning are close
Despite all the differences between skimming and scanning, those
two friends seem to be best together. They have been taught in
almost every class of reading methods. This is because of the fact
that practising either of them can show great results.
However, the combination of skimming and scanning is even much
greater. It’s like an insurance for your fast reading: you read
quicker but you don’t miss out anything important. Why and
how can these techniques do such an amazing job? Skimming takes
a role of covering the whole reading material to assure you get
what’s beneficial and leave out the useless ones. Scanning plays a
part in taking out the most precious facts you need. It’s a
responsible way of fast reading that no one could deny.
How to use both skills in your reading
1. Effective reading with skimming
When learning to skim, get yourself ready to move your eyes
quickly through the pages. Skimming is not about placing your eyes
wherever your attention is drawn to. Effective work of skimming
does not require you to do that.
You know that you don’t read every word but carefully pay attention
to what forms the structure of that reading material. So what
exactly are we talking about? Headings, bulleted lists, numbered
lists, bold text, italic text… These are just some of them, though.
Now here are some steps you should take if you do skimming:
Look at the table of contents if there is. It’s a fast way to
figure out what’s going on.
by Pexcels via Pixabay
The main headings are of the most essential, so don’t forget
to read them. Remember that tables and charts have
headings, too (e.g., U.S population by age and gender,
Healthcare cost from 2010 to 2017 and Risks of environmental
impacts). Some may miss the headings of tables and charts as
a habit, so keep in mind they are there for some good reasons.
After reading the first sentences, scroll your eyes down
to the last ones of each paragraph. These sentences can be
the topic sentences which hold the main idea. This should
not take you too much time as there’re only a few important
words to follow. However, don’t hesitate to stop if you think
something needs to be read entirely. Make sure you leave the
paragraph and move to the next after carefully skimming.
Attentively read the keywords. They can be nouns, dates,
events, names, numbers,… These very single words or phrases
that give details are worth considering. Questions about these
kinds of information usually show up in the IELTS test.
Along with your skimming process, underline or highlight
important words and phrases. It’s good to use a marker or
pencil (if you think you might want to erase the lines after
that). This is also a preparation for scanning.
Image by
PDPics via Pixabay
Remember it’s you who decide what rate of speed you want
to skim. Of course, it’s not necessarily equal in every part. The
situations may vary, it could be a slow-down when you skim
through an unfamiliar word, for example. Sometimes, there
are sentences that need more than one glance.
As far as what we have agreed in the previous section, you only
scan when you know what to scan. There are some facts you want
to find out. So what are the facts that you need? If you have
questions and are looking for the specific answer, there are
probably some keywords in the question.
2. Effective reading with scanning
You can now leave out all the rest of the text as you’re in search of
some specific question-related information. In case there’re not any
given keywords, establish them. Choose a few words or phrases to
search. It’s your choice to look for one or more keywords at a time.
Let’s see if you can practice these suggestions below:
Use a finger of your hand to scan, which is a helpful way to
stay focused. A calmness of mind together with the strong
physical image of your finger pointing along the lines will
provide you with confidence. You’re also sure of what you’ve
scanned and what’s left to be scanned.
Image by
Free-Photos via Pixabay
Repeat silently in your mind the keywords while scanning.
You may think you’re sure of what you need, but keeping on
telling yourself the wanted word or phrase can never be
anything of disadvantages. Whether it’s a phone number, a
person’s name, a location, a country… keep saying quietly
that’s the destination.
When you come across a keyword while scanning, stop and
carefully read the surrounding text. If there’s anything
serving your purposes, note them down to review later and
see if this information needs noticing. The chances we find
needed sentences and then lose them can happen without a
warning. If we do not prepare for surprises, we’ll be
surprisingly slower than planning.
3. Frequent practice is the key
Although knowing the differences between skimming and scanning
is undeniably useful, the habit of reading every word may make
some of us uncomfortable to change. To finally master the
techniques of skimming and scanning, you have to spend your
time practising again and again. It’s the act of allowing yourself
to skip all the texts but the ones that best match your purposes.
Whenever you’re in your best mindset, you’re ready to speed up
your reading process.
How important Scanning and Skimming are in the IELTS test?
One of the most challenging things students have to face in the
IELTS test is time management. You need to deliver an appropriate
amount of time for each question. You must optimize every minute
to get the best possible result. We can clearly see that skimming
and scanning are necessary skills to secure your success in IELTS
Skimming is inevitable if you are in the early stage of an IELTS
reading test. The limited time does not allow you to read all the
writing. If you try to do so, there’s a chance that you’ll run out of
your time. As long as you skim carefully, the pleasant result will
come as a large quantity of information within a short period of
time. Moreover, you’ll even have a couple more minutes to check if
the answers are correct.
With a clear purpose – a particular keyword, all you need to do
is scanning through the reading material until anything catches your
eyes and pause to look for important information or data. As you
can see, skimming can’t contribute much at this state of reading like
it does earlier. This is the time of details and more details. When
you’ve located the keywords in the passage, slow down find your
answer in the surrounding text area.
In a word, practising both skimming and scanning intentionally is
a survival strategy in the IELTS test
This discussion about the differences between skimming and
scanning may be too long to digest, it’s still essential for your
understanding of the two techniques. Becoming familiar with doing
skimming and scanning has been helping a lot of people, including
the writer of this article. I know we are people who love to read and
save our time for important matters. We all hope that we are able
to speed up our rate of reading. Just start your first day
practising, if this is the first time you know about these
techniques. Keep on if you’ve been doing them so well so far. If
you have other questions for this topic, please let us know by
leaving them in the comment section below. We also love to know
your own tips for these two techniques.
Here in eJOY, we offer many more useful tips for the IELTS
examinees. Please subscribe or leave us your email so we
can send you free and interesting materials.
What is Reasoning?
Reasoning is what we do when we take information that we are given, compare it to what we
already know, and then come up with a conclusion. Simple, huh? While much of our ability to reason
is innate, these skills can be taught and improved upon. Reasoning skills often happen
subconsciously and within seconds. However, sometimes we need to think things through to reach a
conclusion when we are presented with a tough question or situation.
Reasoning skills are essential to day-to-day life: we use them to make choices among possible
options, to distinguish between positive and negative situations, to decide how to approach a
problem and resolve it, and much more. As we consider some more specific examples, keep in mind
this equation, which may help you to understand how it all works:
Given Information + Knowledge = Reasoned Conclusion
Inductive Reasoning vs. Deductive Reasoning
Inductive reasoning is different from deductive reasoning, where you start with a
generalization or theory, and then test it by applying it to specific incidents. For
example, in grade school, our teachers may have taught the difference to us as
"going from big to small" when using deductive reasoning and "going from small
to big" when using inductive reasoning.
Scientists may use deductive reasoning to test a hypothesis in a lab, whereas
many law enforcement, military, or corporate leaders must be able to use
inductive reasoning by taking quick sweep of a situation and making a vital, but
time-sensitive decision. Inductive reasoning allows individuals to accurately “see
the signs” of something bigger at play.
Examples of Inductive Reasoning
In practice, inductive reasoning often appears invisible. You might not be aware
that you’re taking in information, recognizing a potential pattern, and then acting
on your hypothesis. But, if you’re a good problem solver, chances are that these
examples will feel familiar:
1. A teacher notices that his students learned more when hands-on activities
were incorporated into lessons, and then decides to regularly include a
hands-on component in his future lessons.
2. An architect discerns a pattern of cost overages for plumbing materials in
jobs and opts to increase the estimate for plumbing costs in subsequent
3. A stockbroker observes that Intuit stock increased in value four years in a
row during tax season and recommends clients buy it in March.
4. A recruiter conducts a study of recent hires who have achieved success
and stayed on with the organization. She finds that they graduated from
three local colleges, so she decides to focus recruiting efforts on those
5. A salesperson presents testimonials of current customers to suggest to
prospective clients that her products are high quality and worth the
6. A defense attorney reviews the strategy employed by lawyers in similar
cases and finds an approach that has consistently led to acquittals. She
then applies this approach to her own case.
7. A production manager examines cases of injuries on the line and discerns
that many injuries occurred towards the end of long shifts. The manager
proposes moving from 10-hour to 8-hour shifts based on this observation.
8. A bartender becomes aware that customers give her higher tips when she
shares personal information, so she intentionally starts to divulge personal
information when it feels appropriate to do so.
9. An activities leader at an assisted living facility notices that residents light
up when young people visit. She decides to develop a volunteer initiative
with a local high school, connecting students with residents who need
cheering up.
A market researcher designs a focus group to assess consumer
responses to new packaging for a snack product. She discovers that
participants repeatedly gravitate towards a label stating “15 grams of
protein." The researcher recommends increasing the size and
differentiating the color of that wording.
Types of Inductive Reasoning Skills
The following are some of the skills that individuals with strong inductive
reasoning abilities have.
Attention to Detail
No one can draw conclusions on details without first noticing them. That’s why
paying attention is crucial to inductive reasoning. If you are trying to develop
better inductive reasoning, begin by first noticing more about the things around
you. Be mindful of your five primary senses: the things that you hear, feel, smell,
taste, and see.
Active Listening
Critical Thinking
Asking Questions
Recognizing Patterns
Those that have strong inductive reasoning quickly notice patterns. They can see
how certain objects or events lining up in a certain way can result in a common
outcome. Teachers working with students with different personalities and
intellectual abilities must practice inductive reasoning when figuring out which
approach best helps each student. Financial analysts use inductive reasoning to
examine data and draw conclusions.
Data Analysis
Language Skills
Making Projections
Closely related to recognizing patterns is then being able to predict (or intuit)
what the near future will hold by taking certain steps now. Leaders must be able
to know that certain decisions will lead to more group cooperation and greater
success. Among the most common demands for inductive reasoning is being
able to build financial projections for a startup, insurance
company, investing, accounting firm, or for an executive of a medium-to-large
Creating Pro Forma Statements
Risk Management
Often, you will notice a few details and then recognize them again months or
years later. Your inductive reasoning is often directly connected to your ability to
recall past events and the details leading up to those events. For those that worry
that their memory might fail them, they may learn to take notes (by hand,
smartphone, or audio recording device) so that they can reference them later on.
Mnemonic Skills
Reflection Tactics
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Different than raw intellect (known as IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ) is the
ability to perceive emotions motivating social moments that otherwise might be
mysterious to those lacking EQ. People with high levels of EQ are frequently
more understanding of others and better able to “get to the heart” of issues
between two or more people.
Communication Skills
Collaboration Skills
Reading Body Language
Showing Your Inductive Reasoning Skills at an Interview
Job interviews provide an ideal opportunity to show employers that you have
inductive reasoning skills.
Before the interview, review your past roles and identify situations in which you
have applied inductive reasoning. Specifically, think of times when inductive
reasoning resulted in positive outcomes, where you independently applied
knowledge learned on the job in order to adapt quickly to your role.
When highlighting your inductive reasoning during an interview, use the STAR
interview response technique. This is an acronym that stands for:
First, describe the situation: Where you were working? What project were you
working on?
Then describe the task: What was your responsibility? What problem did you
have to solve? What observations did you make?
Next, explain the action you took: What solution did you implement? How did
you translate your observations into a solution or action?
Finally, explain the result: How did your action help the problem, or help the
company more broadly?. This technique will clearly show the interviewer that you
have inductive reasoning skills that can add value to the company.