"When people actively apply critical thinking concepts and use constructive behaviors, they develop more ideas, make fewer mistakes and reach better decisions." (UMass Boston, n.d.). Critical thinking is a crucial step in the decision-making process and has been defined in many different ways. According to Free Inquiry.com, critical thinking is a "reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. A person who thinks critically can ask appropriate questions, gather relevant information, efficiently and creatively sort through this information, reason logically from this information, and come to reliable and trustworthy conclusions about the world that enable one to live and act successfully in it."Within the process of critical thinking individuals need to ask many questions in order to come successfully to a reasonable conclusion with sound facts and information to back it up. In analyzing the information received one needs to determine both the relevance and validity behind the details given.
The details pertaining to the process of critical thinking are gathered from observation, experience, research, reasoning, and communication. Many factors can affect the outcome of a situation and in using critical thinking, these factors are able to be validated or thrown out in an effort to arrive at the best possible decision.
Individuals engaging in the process of critical thinking need to possess characteristics of patience, flexibility, creativity, and most of all the ability to stay unbiased. Not all decisions are clear-cut and straightforward. In order to be successful in the process of critical thinking, individuals should acquire skills in ingenuity and inspiration to assess properly all information provided. Another crucial step in the decision-making process of critical thinking is the ability and task of asking questions. The process of asking questions can and will assist critical thinkers in evaluating decisions made,