Critical Thinking vs. Problem-Solving: What’s the Difference?

We know that critical thinking skills are fundamental to problem-solving. And we know that there are other skills that help us solve problems, skills that aren’t critical thinking skills. Problem solving involves a wide array of techniques and attacks, some of which fall under critical thinking, and some which don’t.

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The Role of Critical Thinking in Problem-Solving

What is problem-solving?

You can use problem-solving techniques to find answers to problems. When you want to identify the root of problems in your personal and professional life and put a plan of action in place, you can use problem-solving techniques. Since you might use problem-solving when unforeseen events occur, it frequently necessitates the capacity to recognize the variables that shape these issues and the capacity to improvise efficient solutions. You might be able to solve problems more quickly, visualize issues more clearly, and carry out research more successfully if you develop this skill.

What is critical thinking?

It’s a habit to critically evaluate your own thought process and look for ways to make it better. Analyzing your thoughts will help you think more quickly, organize your thoughts more intuitively, and become more conscious of your biases. When you think critically, you can examine arguments, consider the evidence that backs them up, and decide logically whether the arguments are valid. You can commit to the process of lifelong learning, consider the perspectives of peers more frequently, and be more honest about your errors if you develop critical thinking as a long-term habit.

Critical thinking vs. problem-solving

You can overcome obstacles by using both critical thinking and problem-solving techniques, but each has a different goal and set of techniques. Here are some differences between the two skills:

Critical thinking

In contrast to problem-solving, which is a set of tactics focused on finding solutions, this is a way of thinking. Learning new skills, such as problem-solving, is made simpler because critical thinking strengthens your reasoning. Enhancing your critical thinking skills can also help you gain a better understanding of who you are, including your values, learning preferences, and strongest skills. Critical thinking comprises five steps, which are :


Unlike critical thinking, which you practice continuously to hone your thinking skills, problem-solving is a set of techniques you use to find solutions that actually work. It can be used to deal with problems as they arise or to plan ahead and create solutions before a problem even arises. Enhancing your problem-solving abilities can help you think more creatively and analytically, as well as make you a more valuable team member. Four steps make up problem-solving, and they are listed below:


Is problem-solving another name for critical thinking?

Examples of Critical Thinking A triage nurse evaluates the current cases and determines the sequence of care for the patients. A plumber assesses the materials that would be most appropriate for a specific job. An attorney examines the evidence and develops a plan to win the case or determines whether to reach a settlement outside of court.

What is the difference between critical thinking and problem-solving in nursing?

Critical thinking can also be called ‘problem solving. No additional effort is required to think critically. To use critical thinking abilities, you need to be informed about more than just the facts.

What are the five critical thinking skills?

Critical thinking abilities have been associated with better patient outcomes, better patient care quality, and better safety outcomes. Critical thinking entails asking insightful questions and evaluating solutions, whereas problem-solving typically focuses on the identification and solution of a problem.

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