Genealogical research is filled with mysteries, conundrums, conflicting information, and dubious claims…which needs solving in some way shape or form to reach a resolution and the truth. Critical thinking is an essential tool/skill every serious genealogist and family historian ought to use in the course of his or her research.
So what is critical thinking?
Criticalthinking.org says that critical thinking is:
“…that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it [thinking about how you think]. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism [not making everything about us or our viewpoint] and sociocentrism [a tendency to assume the superiority or rightness of one’s own social group].”
A well-cultivated critical thinker:
- Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
- Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively;
- Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
- Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
- Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
Join Donya and Brian as they chat about how critical thinking is embedded in their genealogical research…And the amazing successes they’ve had piecing lost branches of their family via this essential skill.
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