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Critical Thinking Project: Characteristics and Barriers

Selecting a Topic

As a way of bringing together some of the key concepts from the class, you are going to create a short PowerPoint presentation.  You have two choices of a topic:

1.  Choose the career that you are in or the degree that you are pursuing:

 “Critical Thinking in  ___________________________”

(Nursing, Special Education, IT, etc.)

2.  Choose a particular topic or field of interest:

 “Critical Thinking in ___________________________________ ”

(Parenting, Art, Social Justice, etc.)

Characteristics of a Good Critical Thinker 

For slides 3-5 you will select one of the characteristics of a good critical thinker (below) per slide (3 characteristics total), which you believe to be essential to your topic. For instance for the topic of “Critical Thinking in Art” creative problem solving might be an essential characteristic to develop. Provide not only an explanation of WHY this characteristic is essential to your field, but also a specific example in your topic to illustrate your point. For example: In preparation for, sculptor Richard Serra’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, the museum faced some major technical challenges. His sculptures were too large, heavy, and complex to install in the museum in a traditional manner, instead, museum staff developed a plan with a team of contractors and architects to remove the entire face of the building and place the large metal forms with cranes. This team used creative problem solving when faced with a challenge.

Characteristics of a Good Critical Thinker (select 3, one per slide)

Analytical Skills

Effective Communication

Research and Inquiry Skills

Flexible and Tolerance for Ambiguity

Open-Minded Skepticism

Creative Problem solving

Attention, Mindfulness and Curiosity

Collaborative Learning

Barriers and Resistances to Good Critical Thinking

For slides 6-8 you will select one of the barriers/resistances to good critical thinking (below) per slide (3 characteristics total), which you believe to be most problematic in your topic. For instance for the topic of “Critical Thinking in Art” fear of challenge might be barrier you view as particularly difficult for an artist to overcome. Provide not only an explanation of WHY this barrier/resistance is essential to overcome in your field, but also a specific example in your topic to illustrate your point.

Barriers/Resistances (select 3, one per slide)









Fear of Challenge





Slide 9 - Informal Fallacies

In slide 9, discuss a way in which a particular fallacy often shows up when people think about your topic.  If possible, find an example of this fallacy in a relevant advertisement. Your resource should be related to your field and you should provide the resource (image or link) as well as a description of what fallacy you found and how it was used. For example, in my topic of “Critical Thinking in Art” I might find an advertisement for a “starving artist” art sale and identify this terminology or details within the ad of using the fallacy of hasty generalization by stereotyping artists as “starving” and in need of help, support, and funding.

Informal Fallacies (select 1)

Fallacies of Ambiguity 






Fallacies of Relevance

Ad Hominem (personal attack)

Appeal to Force or scare tactic

Appeal to pity

Popular appeal

Appeal to Ignorance

Hasty generalization

Straw man

Red Herring

Fallacies Involving Unwarranted Assumptions

Begging the question

Inappropriate Appeal to Authority

Loaded question

False Dilemma

Questionable Cause

Slippery Slope

Naturalistic Fallacy

Slide 10-11

1. Find an image from mass media that relates to your topic.  It may be an advertisement, a screen shot of a website, a video, a news clip.  Put that image or link on slide 10.

2. On Slide 11, evaluate how that image portrays your topic and the people in your topic.  Analyze the source using questions for analyzing media messages as found on page 353 of your text.

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