In this project, you will address a case study that intentionally does not give you enough detail for you to quickly resolve the issue. This is meant to enable you to use the processes of critical thinking to reach conclusions. Given the gaps in information provided to you, you will identify what you know, what you don’t know, and what questions you need to ask as you start your investigation of the facts of the case. The process is designed to encourage clear thinking and to help you to identify potential cognitive traps that could derail well-reasoned conclusions.
There are six steps that will lead you through this project. Most steps of this project should take no more than two hours to complete. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the fictional scenario that forms the framework for this project. Then continue with Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically.
In this first step, you will prepare to respond to your boss’s request for an analysis of a problem in your organization. You realize that this will require careful thinking. So, you need to take time to review the process of critical thinking and problem analysis, as well as key habits of master thinkers and ethical decision making.
When you have finished your review of the learning resources, move on to the next step to identify the problem.
Now that you have reviewed the process, apply that to the problem by reviewing the case, Trouble in the Truss Construction Shop.
Your first task is to figure out how circumstances resulted in the problem. Remember the direction from your boss is to “apply your critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out what happened, what we know and don’t know, and how the organization might remedy this situation.”
So, what is the problem that resulted from the incident, and why might there be different interpretations of the facts?
Outline the points that you want to make in the first two sections of your paper (introduction and explanation), and draft those sections.
In the next step, you will analyze the information.
Now that you have some understanding of the nature of the problem and the parties involved, it’s time to gather and analyze information. The problem analysis resources will aid your analysis and development of the third section of the paper.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information, then draft that section.
In the following step, you will consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions.
Once you have completed your analysis of the incident, the next step is to consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions. To do this, you will need to apply ethical decision making skills. If you missed it earlier, we also recommend that you read Randolph Pherson’s “The Five Habits of the Master Thinker,” a paper written for intelligence analysts, but applicable to all analytical thinking and reasoning.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 4: Analysis of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions, and draft that section of your paper.
Now that you’ve considered various viewpoints, you’re ready to develop your own personal conclusions and suggest solutions that your boss can bring to leadership in briefing them about the situation.
Remember, you may need to consult outside references, but this is not a research paper. It should be investigative in nature about the facts of the case. Cite any outside sources carefully.
Now, outline your argument and draft Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations, the final section. Your boss is expecting to receive a concise, focused paper to prepare for further meetings. Stay focused on the main points, although you may have many facts that could be used to answer any questions. You will submit your paper in the final step.
The final Critical Thinking paper should be no more than five double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and references page(s). Organize the paper in accordance with your preparatory steps, using these subheadings:
Title of Paper (centered and bold) There is no heading named “Introduction”
Explanation of the Issue (centered and bold)
Analysis of the Information (centered and bold)
Consideration of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions (centered and bold)
Conclusions and Recommendations (centered and bold)
If you have used any outside sources, you will include a References page in proper APA 7 format.
Here are some tips for success:
Consider these best practices for a Critical Thinking paper:
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