In this project, you will address a case study that intentionally does not give you enough detail for you to quickly resolve the issue. This is meant to enable you to use the processes of critical thinking to reach conclusions. Given the gaps in information provided to you, you will identify what you know, what you don’t know, and what questions you need to ask as you start your investigation of the facts of the case. The process is designed to encourage clear thinking and to help you to identify potential cognitive traps that could derail well-reasoned conclusions.
There are six steps that will lead you through this project. Most steps of this project should take no more than two hours to complete. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the project you will be doing as it might occur in the workplace, and then continue with Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically.
In this first step, you will prepare to respond to your boss’s request for an analysis of a problem in your organization. You realize that this will require careful thinking. So, you take some time to review the process and to engage in Critical Thinking and Analysis.
When you have finished your review of the learning resources, you will move on to the next step: identifying the problem.
Step 2: Identify the Problem
Now that you have reviewed the process, apply that to the problem by reviewing one of the cases from this list and preparing a critical analysis of the issues. Clicking a link will download the scenario.
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Click to Reveal Scenario for Strategic Communications Students
Your first task is to figure out how the circumstances resulted in a problem for the organization. Remember the direction from your boss is to ”apply your critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out what happened, what we know and don’t know, and how the organization might remedy this situation.”
What is the problem that resulted from the circumstances, and why might there be different interpretations of the facts? Outline the points that you want to make in the first two sections of your paper (introduction, explanation), and draft those sections.
Next, you will analyze the information.
Step 3: Analyze the Information
Once that you have some understanding of the issues involved in the scenario, gather and analyze information. The Problem Analysis resources will further aid your analysis and development of the third section of your paper. Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information of your paper, and draft that section.
Next, you will consider other viewpoints.
Step 4: Consider and Analyze Other Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions
Once you have completed your analysis of the incident, the next step is to analyze alternative viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions. To do this you will need to apply Ethical Decision-Making and Reasoning. Also highly recommended, Randolph Pherson’s “The Five Habits of the Master Thinker,” a paper written for intelligence analysts, but applicable to all analytical thinking and reasoning.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 4: Analysis of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, or Solutions of your paper, and draft that section.
Next, you will develop your conclusions.
Step 5: Develop Well-Reasoned Conclusions
You considered alternative viewpoints in the last step. Now you’re ready to develop your personal conclusions and suggest remedies so that your boss is well-equipped to brief her leadership about the situation.
Remember, you may need to consult outside references but this is not a research paper. It is more investigative in nature about the facts of the case. Please cite outside sources carefully.
Now, outline your argument and draft Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations, the final sections. Your boss is expecting to receive a concise, focused paper to prepare her for further meetings. Stay to the main points, although you may have more facts to answer any questions. You will submit your paper in the final step.
Step 6: Submit Critical Thinking Paper
Your final paper should be no more than 5 double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and References page(s). Please organize your paper in accordance with your preparatory steps, using these subheadings:
Explanation of the Issue
Analysis of the Information
Consideration of alternative viewpoints and conclusions
Conclusions and Recommendations
Here are some tips for success:
Consider outside sources if they inform your case. However, stay on task.
Use APA style for “in text” and reference citations. At this point, your citations should be error-free.
Consider these Best Practices for a paper:
An effective introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone and direction for the rest of the paper;
Supporting paragraphs that move the reader from the general introduction to the more specific aspects of your analysis;
Body paragraphs that provide support; and,
A conclusion that leads to a natural close to what you have presented in your paper.
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