Analytical thinking is the art of breaking down complex information about a topic to smaller and less complex pieces of information to understand what’s happening and to reach an evidence-based solution for the riddle about the topic being researched.
What’s the process of analytical thinking?
The general and main series of steps in the process of analytical thinking are:
1) Issue or topic identification.
2) Information, data, and evidence collection.
3) Dismantling of the collected material to smaller pieces.
4) Subjugate the information to logic and reason.
5) Evaluation of viewpoints and opinions.
6) Identification of patterns and cause and effect.
7) Elimination of extraneous material.
8) Scheme and test the conclusions that have been reached.
9) Assess the new knowledge that have been gained.
Analytical Thinking vs Critical Thinking
Analytical thinking is totally different from critical thinking.
In critical thinking a decision is made regardless of the correctness or fallacy of the event, object, or situation. The data and information are evaluated then conclusions are made based on the unique perception of the information and data. Information and data are combined with current knowledge to make the accurate assessment. Basically information and data in critical thinking are used to create an opinion.
In Analytical thinking — as discussed above — is the breaking down of information and data into smaller pieces. Conclusion is made in a step by step process to solve the issue. Various points of view are evaluated with the aim to understand the cause and effect.
Advantages of analytical thinking
1) Better problem solving process
2) Make well-informed and correct decisions
3) Identification and evaluation of causes of the problems and generation of solutions for them.
4) Ability to take the right preventive measures, so that the problems wont be repeated again or the damage would be less.
How to develop the skill of analytical thinking?
1) Book reading without passively skimming over the pages.
2) Observe your surroundings, and ask: What is happening? Why is it happening?.
3) Mathematical skills.
Ranks of analytical thinkers
According the university of British Columbia there are five different levels for analytical thinkers in the matter of the detailed processes they follow during their analytical thinking, which are: being developed(BD), basic(Basic), intermediate(I), advanced(A), expert(E).
I) Being Developed(BD):
1- Gathers and links data.
2- Reviews for non-conformity and gathers further information in response to routine problems.
3- Identifies direct cause and effect relationships.
4- Breaks down tasks and problems into manageable components.
5- Solicits guidance as needed to assess importance and urgency.
6- Escalates issues of a non-routine nature as needed.
1- Collates and reports information.
2- Identifies trends and exceptions. Investigates to define problems more accurately.
3- Sorts information in order of importance.
4- Identifies relationships and linkages between components.
5- Identifies variable potential causes and effects.
6- Solicits guidance to define criteria and assign values of importance and urgency.
7- Escalates issues of an exceptional nature
1- Coordinates the information gathering and reporting process.
2- Reviews trends and compares to expectations.
3- Conducts research to define problems and prepares responses to anticipated questions.
4- Prioritizes multiple issues and opportunities.
5- Identifies relationships and linkages within several information sources.
6- Anticipates issues that are not readily apparent on the surface.
7- Identifies root causes and effects.
8- Defines priorities within performance objectives.
9- Reports and identifies areas that need guidance in order to resolve complex issues.
10- Anticipates the possible outcome of potential solutions.
1- Determines criteria for assessing issues and opportunities.
2- Establishes clear goals and priorities needed to assess performance.
3- Identifies relationships and linkages between different information sources.
4- Anticipates issues that are not readily apparent on the surface.
5- Identifies root causes and effects.
6- Establishes clear goals and priorities.
7- Anticipates potential problems and develops solutions needed to resolve them.
8- Systemically analyzes relationships between apparently independent problems and issues.
9- Reviews and cross-reviews reports. Identifies trends as well as isolated events.
10- Translates analytical reports into management presentations, and provides guidance to resolve issues.
11- Anticipates the possible outcome of potential solutions.
12- Identifies areas of significant concern or opportunity.
13- Probes and initiates research to identify critical problems
1- Establishes strategic goals and enterprise-wide priorities.
2- Uses techniques of advanced business and organizational analysis to identify and assess problem definitions and potential solutions, and compares and contrasts them against predetermined criteria.
3- Creates framework for reviewing large volumes of unorganized data.
4- Probes for, and points to, subtle and unclear relationships in highly complex matters and evaluates the merit of problem definitions and potential solutions.
5- Anticipates the possible outcome of potential solutions.
6- Systemically identifies and resolves complex enterprise-wide issues, while educating senior leaders as to their solution.
In conclusion, analytical thinking is vital skill in life. It assists greatly in problem solving and decision making. You can develop this skill by certain practices and habits. There is a hierarchy for the analytical thinkers.