How to Learn Critical Thinking Skills

Read articles in magazines and form your own opinions using critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking skills help people of all ages shape their own opinions based on facts and data presented through research, news stories and experiences. Learn critical thinking skills using news articles taken from research journals, newspapers or textbooks, and analyze the information that is presented in the articles to form your own opinion and arguments that are in favor or against the topic.

Create a statement from a story read in a newspaper or research journal. For example, a story about children developing a violent attitude due to playing violent video games may produce a statement that reads “violent video games are a negative influence on children and encourage violent behavior.”

Interpret the meaning of the statement created from reading the article on a sheet of paper. Describe what the statement means in your own words and include your personal opinion. Ask the opinion of friends, classmates and professors to understand how others view the topic.

Dissect the statement and analyze what you, as the reader, know to be true of the statement. For example, state reasons why video games encourage violent behavior and negatively influence how children act. An argument against the statement may also be generated. Include personal experiences if possible.

Search for factual information and data that support or reject the statement in books, articles and reputable online resources. Include this information in your research. Known as reasoning, factual information and data gives a solid base for opinions formed and provides other readers with valid evidence to form their own opinion.

Read the statement, opinion and factual information found during research to ensure that the argument or statement stands. This is known as evaluation in the critical thinking process. Conclude your support or argument of the statement with convincing information found during research, and explain why the statement is true or false.

Anya Meave is a freelance writer from San Diego, Calif. She began writing in 2009 for various websites. Majoring in telemedia, she has written scripts for student projects and has been chosen to submit a spec script for the 2011 Nickelodeon Writers Fellowship. Meave has an associate degree in photography from Southwestern College.