Lee University - Cleveland, TN - Administration Building

Critical Thinking Skills

The Lee University faculty has chosen as one of its emphases the following five critical thinking skills. Both general education core and major courses are being systematically infused with the teaching of these skills.

Skill #1: Learning for Understanding and Retention
  1. Summarize or restate in their own words
  2. Elaborate on the main idea
  3. Give examples to support or clarify
  4. Relate the issue/content/skill to life or other concepts
Skill #2: Identifying Sources and Determining Their Reliability
  1. List possible sources and locations of sources
  2. Review reliability factors
  3. Narrow sources to most reliable
Skill #3: Explaining Causes
  1. Identify the possible causes
  2. Search for possible evidence
  3. Determine which cause is most likely
Skill #4: Critical Analysis, Synthesis, and Assessment
  1. Analysis
    a. Determine criteria or methodology (Make explicit the process by which analysis is to be performed)
    b. Identify the underlying assumptions, orientations, beliefs, prejudices, biases, contexts, etc. inherent in the material under analysis
    c. Identify the parts, divisions or elements of the subject or object. What is the genre or category and how does it break down into its component parts?
  2. Synthesis
    a. Identify the elements to be synthesized and determine how they are different
    b. Ask connective questions
    c. Determine the implications of the connections
  3. Assessment
    a. Based on previous analysis, determine how the parts contribute to the whole
    b. Based on previous synthesis, determine how the new elements compare to those synthesized
    c. Determine the value of the material being evaluated
Skill #5: Decision Making and Problem Solving
  1. Identify the questions and/or problems of the discipline, field, or area of study. State them clearly and precisely.
  2. Think of alternative answers to the questions and/or problems. What are the underlying assumptions behind the alternatives? Be willing to “think outside the box.”
  3. With reference to practical considerations, consider the consequences for each alternative. Think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needed, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
  4. Make a decision or suggest a solution based on the relevant criteria and standards. Defend the decision or solution.
  5. Identify the next questions.

Dr. Mary Ruth Stone

(423) 614-8159

Dr. Michael Sturgeon
Coordinator of Instructional Technology
(423) 614-8556

Brett Deaton
Instructional Technology Assistant
(423) 614-8315

Mayfield Annex Room 101

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Sherry Kasper
Dr. Sherry Kasper
Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Assistant Professor of Biology