Chapter 9 Notes Making Good Decisions: A Framework Decision making- the process of deciding among various alternatives. Some decisions are easily made and have few consequences but others can involve the deepest examination of our beliefs and values. You need to actively apply your past knowledge synthesize and evaluate alternatives and reason and reflect on a course of action A decision reflex critical thinking because it involves a number of basic characteristics 1. Clarity 2. Precision 3. Accuracy 4. Consistency 5. Impartiality and fairness Identifying Your Goals Every decision starts with the end you have in mind the goal you wish to accomplish by making the decision. To decide you need to consider both your short and your long-term goals. Identifying the goals that underlie decisions ensures that we make decisions in the context of our entire lives and not just to provide short-term answers to immediate problems. Considering and Assessing the Alternatives Every decision is based on weighing various alternatives
2 Determining what those alternatives are and their possible consequences is often the most difficult part of decision making. 1. Develop a list of alternatives It is important not only to think thoroughly about the obvious alternatives but also to consider those that are less obvious. Using the technique of free writing can help Freewriting- Freewriting-a technique involving continuous non-stop riding without self-criticism for a fixed period of time The idea is to write as many ideas as possible without stopping With free writing evaluating the worth of the ideas you’ve generated comes later. Assess Alternatives Once you have generated as extensive a list of Alternatives as possible assess them weighing the pros and cons you need to follow three key steps when judging each alternative. 1. Determine the possible outcomes for each alternative some are positive some are negative. 2. Determine the probability that those outcomes will take place 3. Compare the Alternatives taking into account the potential outcomes of each Which alternative on balance provides the most positive outcomes? Not every decision requires such an elaborate process Making and Carrying Out the Decision
3 Working through the previous three steps of assessing the Alternatives will lead you to the point of decision choosing one of the Alternatives you identified. Choosing among Alternatives 1. Give the decision time 2. Make a mental movie acting out the various alternatives 3. Toss a coin 4. Ask for advice 5. Avoid over analysis and overthinking decisions 6. Go with your gut feeling Carrying Out the Decision The final stage in making a decision is to act upon it you need to turn your decision into behavior. Reconsidering Your Goals and Options It’s important to periodically reconsider the major decisions that we’ve made about our lives. Ask yourself these questions 1. Are my decisions still producing the desired consequences? 2. Are my decisions still appropriate giving my circumstances and changes in my life? 3. Are my decisions consistent with what I want to get out of life? Taking stock like this is the best way to make sure that your decisions are taking you where you want to go. Taking stock also helps you be more effective in making future decisions. Problem Solving: Applying Critical Thinking to Find Solutions.
4 Problem Solving -the process of generating alternatives to work on. Problem solving encompasses more than the abstract often unrealistic situations portrayed in math texts The central task of problem solving is generating appropriate Alternatives we need to define the problem and devise as many reasonable solutions as we can. What’s the Problem? The first step in solving any problem is to define what the problem is, as clearly as possible it may take some time to figure out just what problem you’re solving. The reason for the difficulty in defining problems is that while some problems are clear and precise others are big and hard to define. Simply determining what information is required to solve such problems can be a major undertaking. Set yourself on a course for finding a solution ask yourself these questions: 1. What is the initial set of facts 2. What is it that I need to solve 3. Which parts of the problem appear to be Problemscal to finding a solution 4. Is there some information that can be ignored The more systematically you approach a problem, the better When you consider a problem systematically and think through your options your choices will become clearer to you To solve many of the complex problems that we face in our daily lives we need to go beyond strategies that we've used in the past instead we need to devise novel approaches how do you do this there are several strategies you might use.
5 Strategies for Solving Life’s Messier Problems 1. Break the problem down into smaller, more manageable pieces 2. Work Backward- The strategy of starting at the desired solution or goal and working towards the starting point of the problem 3. Use a graph chart or drawing to redefine the problem 4. Consider the opposite 5. Use analogies 6. Take another’s perspective 7. Forget about it Assessing Your Potential Solutions If a problem has only one answer assessment of the solution you come up with is relatively straightforward. Messier problems have several possible solutions some of which may be more involved and costly than others in these cases it's necessary to compare alternative solutions and choose the best one. Being a bit of time seeing whether there is a way to refine the solution Is the solution you devised adequate? Does it address all aspects of the problem? Are there alternative approaches that might be superior? Not every problem has a clear-cut solution. For some of us such a lack of clarity is difficult making us uneasy and it may push us to choose a solution any solution that seems to solve the problem. It's important to consider what your own problem solving style is when you seek to identify solutions.
6 Keep in mind that often there is no perfect solution to a problem only some solutions that are better than others. The ability to ask questions is a trait that will continue to matter in your career. Reflect on the Process of Problem Solving It’s natural to step back and back in the satisfaction of solving a tough problem. Taking a moment to rethink Your solution can provide you with an opportunity to become an expert problem solver and more generally to improve your critical thinking skills. Don’t Fool Yourself: Avoiding Everyday Problems in Critical Thinking Critical thinking requires thinking that is clear and unbiased Equality of the thinking that you use in problem solving and decision making Play The crucial role in determining how successful you are in coming to solutions. We are susceptible to cognitive biases limitations blind spots and outright mistakes in our thinking that lead us to illogical and erroneous decisions. Cognitive biases occur because we apply habitual patterns of thought that may be applicable to a problem at hand due to failures of memory or to outright miscalculation. We learn to think critically and avoid blind spots that hinder us in our decision making and problem solving. Here are some of the decisions making and problem solving pitfalls to look out for avoiding them will improve your critical thinking greatly. 1. Don’t assume that giving something a name explains it. 2. Don’t except they generalities that appear to be definitive statements. 3. Don’t confuse opinion with fact
7 4. Avoid jumping to conclusions 5. Be skeptical of “common sense” 6. Avoid the confirmation bias don’t assume that just because two events occur together one causes the other Using Critical Thinking in Your Classes Nowhere is critical thinking more important to use and demonstrate to your instructors then when you're in online classes. Here are some strategies to Foster your skills as a critical thinker: 1. Email questions 2. Except that some questions have no right or wrong answers 3. Keep an open mind 4. Don’t deny your emotional reactions manage them 5. Don’t be afraid of looking unintelligent.