Prepare to Think Critically
Project 5: In this project, you will address an intentionally vague case study to 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 elements of critical or analytical thinking is designed to encourage clear thinking and to identify potential cognitive traps that could derail well-reasoned conclusions. There is a lot of literature out there about what critical thinking is and how one gets to the best decision based on facts. Using a critical thinking process and analysis of the facts and cross-checking, you will consider inferences and deductions that follow from facts, and then assert conclusions that can be tested and validated. You will also incorporate legal and ethical considerations into decisions.
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 project you will be doing as it might occur in the workplace, and then continue with Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically.
When you submit your project, your work will be evaluated using the competencies listed below. You can use the list below to self-check your work before submission.
1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or presentation.
1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message and audience.
1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or problem under critical consideration.
2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate the issue or problem.
2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the issue or problem.
2.5: Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions, checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.
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 take some time to review the process and to engage in Critical Thinking and Analysis.
When you have completed the critical thinking exercises, you will move on to the next step: identifying the problem.
Step 2: 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 the incident resulted in a problem in the truss construction shop.
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, explanation), and draft those sections.
Next, you will analyze the information.
Step 3: Analyze the Information
Once that you have some understanding of the issues of the event, gather and analyze information. The Problem Analysis resources will further aid your analysis and development of the third section of your paper.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information of your paper, and draft that section.
Next, you will consider other viewpoints.
Problem analysis involves framing the issue by defining its boundaries, establishing criteria with which to select from alternatives, and developing conclusions based on available information. Analyzing a problem may not result in a decision, although the results are an important ingredient in all decision making.
Another way to consider problem analysis is a process that includes identifying and defining the problem, gathering information about the problem, and deciding if one or a group will begin work to solve the problem. A decision to solve the problem leads to analysis of the problem, in this model, asking the what, why, how, and other basic questions. From this point, the group can re-visit the decision to solve and refine any issues (risk, cost, feasibility, for example.)