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Informed reasoning is based on claims that can be substantiated. In other words, your opinion should be based on fact and not on personal opinion. In today’s world where we’ve become ever more involved in using technology as a resource for information, it is crucial that we have the ability to think in an informed way in order to be able to decipher the barrage of information available to us.

The ability to form and articulate opinions is extremely important in all facets of life. As citizens, people need to form opinions about political issues and leaders in order to vote responsibly. We must form opinions about social issues, and we form opinions about the people we work and interact with on a daily basis. However, simply having an opinion about a given topic is not enough. In this age of information, if we want to effectively share our opinions with others, we must be educated about the topics we are discussing.

Whether writing a letter to the editor about a local issue or trying to convince your boss that you’ve developed a great business strategy or convincing your parents that you should have a specific privilege, presenting an informed, educated opinion is much more effective than sharing one based on emotion or personal experience alone.

In addition to being informed, you must consider both your values and assumptions. All color your thinking and require you to reflect and practice slow thinking as you develop your own opinions.

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Critical Thinking in Academic Research by Cindy Gruwell and Robin Ewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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