70 Great Critical Thinking Questions

In each step of the RED Model of Critical Thinking, the key is to ask questions.  Asking questions helps us look more deeply at the issue, break it into parts, find blind spots and lack of data, and make the best choice.

Here are 70 questions to help you boost your critical thinking:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What is the goal?
  3. What information is essential?
  4. What do we know for sure?
  5. What don’t we know?
  6. What is the source of this information?
  7. Is this fact or opinion?
  8. Are we asking the right questions?
  9. Who else does this problem/situation affect?
  10. Who else should be involved in this decision?
  11. Can we re-frame the problem?
  12. Can we view this from another perspective?
  13. Have we played Devil’s advocate?
  14. Can we verify the information?
  15. What are the alternatives?
  16. What assumptions have we made?
  17. Have we sought out opposing information?
  18. Is there another way to interpret the data?
  19. What have I taken for granted?
  20. Are we trying to reach a conclusion too quickly?
  21. Are we avoiding making a decision?
  22. What is the big picture?
  23. How are my emotions affecting my thoughts?
  24. Does the problem make sense?
  25. Are we putting our own interests in front of others’?
  26. Does our conclusion follow from the evidence?
  27. Why?
  28. Can we test this idea?
  29. Have we tried this before?
  30. What is the worst case scenario?
  31. Can I dis-prove my own argument?
  32. Have I asked the right questions?
  33. What would the stakeholders say?
  34. What will my boss think?
  35. What will my competitors think?
  36. What will my customers think?
  37. Have I let my gut feelings direct my thoughts?
  38. What patterns can I identify?
  39. Have I fairly weighed the pros and cons?
  40. Have I followed the RED Model?
  41. What are the risks?
  42. What are the future implications?
  43. Am I being distracted by nonessential information?
  44. Do I have control over the outcome?
  45. Does anyone involved have a hidden agenda?
  46. Is the source credible?
  47. Is my perspective the only credible perspective?
  48. If I proceed with my idea, what might be the conclusion?
  49. If I do not proceed with my idea, what might be the conclusion?
  50. Am I trying to accomplish too much?
  51. Am I focusing on trivial issues rather than the big picture?
  52. Am I in a position to make this decision?
  53. Is the argument fair?
  54. Is the argument relevant?
  55. Is the argument credible?
  56. Do the advantages outweigh the risks?
  57. Who is responsible for what and when?
  58. Do we know when to implement Plan B?
  59. Do we know what success will look like?
  60. What is the question we’re trying to answer?
  61. What am I being asked to believe?
  62. Have I clearly articulated my argument?
  63. Is the evidence consistent or is there ambiguity?
  64. When did the problem start?
  65. Are we censoring possible ideas?
  66. What has changed about the situation?
  67. Is this a strategic issue or a tactical one?
  68. Is improvement possible?
  69. Are we choosing the best choice or the best choice available right now?
  70. What is missing?

That last question is for you.  What is missing from this list?

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Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens.  She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting.  She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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  • 70 Great Critical Thinking Questions

18 responses to “70 Great Critical Thinking Questions”

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  3. Thomas Ponnet

    Nice list. A few things you may want to add.

    - Who benefits most from this?
    - Who also benefits from this?
    - Who benefits if this fails?
    - Do we have enough knowledge / skills to approach the problem at this moment in time?
    - How long is it likely that that problem will exist?
    - Will the problem resolve itself without intervention?

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  5. Kaisa

    There is a lot of negativ thinkig. What is it good for? I am trying to red of everything negative and just the positive thinking is good. See how the critical/negative feels?

  6. Thomas Ponnet

    Let me rephrase a few of my points:

    - Who benefits most from resolving the problem? (Identifying major stakeholders)
    - Who also benefits from resolving the problem? (secondary stakeholders)
    - Who benefits if this fails? (Competitors, other projects, etc)
    - Do we have enough knowledge / skills to approach the problem at this moment in time? (Or have we just identified missing information and/or training)

    Sounds all quite positive to me – gaining information and learning about a problem in order to resolve it.

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  9. Jemma Taylor

    Hey in some cases these questions are unanswerable its really become critical to think !

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    No matter how several times I’ve read these I continue to have myself in awe, your concepts in relation to piano bench is fantastic.

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