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Critical Thinking Comparison Essays

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Last UpdatedSaturday, May 18, 2013

Using a Compare & Contrast Chart of Critical and Creative Thinking

Many authors compare Critical and Creative Thinking in a way that makes them  appear to be polar opposites. After reading a number of these descriptions and not liking any of them, I created my own Compare and Contrast Chart.

First a note about Compare and Contrast Charts:When a professor asks you to compare two things or ideas, they usually expect you to both compare and contrast.

A good approach is writing is to use the introduction to list ways they are the same.  Then, in the body of the essay, you can describe the ways they are different. Here, I list seven differences. If you want to stick to three paragraphs in the body of the essay you could choose the three most important or combine several of them.

Notice that, in addition to showing how they are different, I began each line with a category. This helps you to be sure your contrasts are parallel and helps you find more differences.  It is also a useful addition to a good paragraph.

You’ll notice that I added the contrast at the end, showing  that both Critical and Creative thinking need both skills. You won’t generally have such an interesting way to end and essay but, in this case, you couldn’t ask for a better way to conclude your essay.

Critical and Creative Thinking

Compare                                                                    Contrast   
How they are the same                                             How they are different

.                                                                 Critical Thinking                   Creative Thinking ________________________________________________________________________________________

Side of brain                                                 Left-brained                          Right-brained Skills                                                              Logic & reasoning                 Intuition & Imagination Process                                                          Evaluation                              Brainstorming Image                                                             Adult: the expert                   Child-like: the dreamer
Deals with                                                     Facts and ideas                      Ideas & inventions
Happens when                                              Focused on problem            When most relaxed
Purpose                                                          Critiques ideas                       Creates new ideas
Thinks      About the same situation         Inside the box (rules)           Outside the box
Begins with      Problem or situation
Knowledge        The more the better

The Critical Thinker asks if the writer has made a generalization that is not true in all cases or if he has made unwarranted assumptions. He uses his imagination to find an exception to the rule or to find that example that shows the assumption was not warranted.

The Creative thinker, after coming up with a list of wildly creative ideas, must then treat them critically, asking if they are likely to succeed, if they are practical, if they will solve the problem.

Thinking is not complete without a combination of both critical and creative skills.

I’d be more enthusiastic about thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.
— Terry Pratchett

You might want to read:  Critical Thinking Creative Thinking 

.                                           Compare and Contrast Charts

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