Imagine that you're a college student working part-time as a barista in a cafe. Recently, the cafe has received several negative reviews about the quality of coffee drinks. Your supervisor asked you to fix this problem.

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What are you going to do? Critical thinking skills will help you!

What is critical thinking?

Thinking critically means to objectively analyze information and come to a logical conclusion. You can collect data on a topic and sort it into two categories: relevant and irrelevant.

A phone displaying an emoji with a thinking face. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Steps to apply critical thinking skills

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Explore the critical thinking steps:

  1. Identify the problem

    Recognize and define the problem you're trying to solve.

  2. Perform adequate research

    Gather information and data to gain a better understanding of the problem. Get information from various sources.

  3. Determine the relevance of gathered information

    After collecting information, assess its significance to the problem at hand.

  4. Ask relevant questions

    Asking questions helps to explore the problem further and uncover potential causes or contributing factors.

    Here are questions you can consider asking:

    Are there variables I'm not considering?

    Am I evaluating relevant data and information from every perspective?

    Is the gathered information factual and free of assumptions?

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  5. Identify an effective solution

    Based on the research and analysis conducted, propose a solution to address the problem.

  6. Present your solution

    Communicate your findings and results to relevant parties, such as team members and shareholders.

  7. Analyze the solution's effectiveness

    After implementing the solution, monitor its impact and assess whether it effectively addresses the problem.

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As a customer service representative at a telecommunications company, you've received a call from a customer complaining about poor network connection on their phone. What is the best solution?

Our example

Remember that supervisor of yours who wants you to fix the problem of customer complaints? What should you do as a barista using the steps of critical thinking?

  1. Identify the problem

The problem is the increase in customer complaints about the quality of coffee drinks.

  1. Perform adequate research

Review recent customer feedback and examine patterns in the types of complaints received.

  1. Determine the relevance of gathered information

Analyze the feedback to identify common issues with coffee quality, such as taste, temperature, or presentation.

  1. Ask relevant questions

Inquire about the freshness of ingredients, brewing techniques, or equipment calibration to better look into the problem.

  1. Identify an effective solution

An effective solution could be to implement a new training program to improve barista skills and ensure consistency in coffee preparation.

  1. Present your solution

Discuss the proposed training program with the cafe manager and gain approval to proceed with its implementation.

  1. Analyze the solution's effectiveness

Monitor customer feedback following the training program's implementation to assess whether there's a noticeable improvement in coffee quality.

Take Action

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You see how we can use critical thinking as a barista. Learn more about how you can use these steps to develop and improve your critical thinking skills in your life and at work:


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