You will be using throughout CRIT 602 to explore the larger context for your field of study and its associated professions will be critical inquiry:

 Critical inquiry is the process of gathering and evaluating information, ideas, and assumptions from multiple perspectives to produce well-reasoned analysis and understanding, and leading to new ideas, applications and questions” (“Critical Inquiry,” n.d.).

A high stakes example of critical inquiry is clinical diagnosis and treatment of physical or mental illness, which involves the doctor asking an entire matrix of complex questions at every stage of the process and knowledge of a body of research that is continually changing, as well as the ability to determine how each set of questions intersects with the body of research.

In a work setting, critical inquiry might be used to solve an organizational problem, such as poor morale among support staff. A director must ask: how can we identify the cause of the decline in morale that we’re experiencing now?  When did it start? What factors could have led to it? Have there been changes in management? Have there been changes in our business practices? Could any external factors have caused or contributed to the decline in morale among these staff? Are organizations similar to ours experiencing a similar problem locally? Regionally? Nationally? Has research been done that we could use to find solutions to the problem? What’s been written in the professional literature for our industry that might help us solve our morale problem? Should we bring in a consultant?

In daily life, you might use critical inquiry to buy a car. What kind of vehicle will best meet my needs and the needs of my family? Truck, car, SUV? What about reliability history for the make and model I’m considering? What price range can I afford? How can I find out what is a fair price for the make and model I’m considering? Should I go with dealer financing or get the loan directly through my own bank or credit union? Why is this guy trying to sell me an extended warranty when I’ve already been here for three hours, and I want to go home?

The Role of Reflection in Critical Inquiry

Reflective learning is included in one of the three primary skills goals for CRIT 602: Reflect on learning to guide professional practice. The Center for Simplified Strategic Planning (CSSP) identifies reflection as a critical skill for strategic thinkers:

“Critical Skill #6: [Strategic thinkers] are committed lifelong learners and learn from each of their experiences. They use their experiences to enable them to think better on strategic issues” (“Strategic Thinking,” n.d.).

We learn from experience by reflecting on it: Simply put, reflection is thinking about new experiences, connecting them to prior experiences, and learning something useful for the future.

In “Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking,” Carol R. Rodgers (2002) defines reflection in a way that aligns particularly well with the critical inquiry you will be conducting into the larger context for your field of study and its associated professions:

1. Reflection is a meaning-making process that moves a learner from one experience into the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas. It is the thread that makes continuity of learning possible, and ensures the progress of the individual and, ultimately, society. It is a means to essentially moral ends.

[Analytical Thinking Goal: You break concepts or evidence into parts and explain how the parts are related to each other.]

2. Reflection is a systematic, rigorous, disciplined way of thinking, with its roots in scientific inquiry.

[Analytical Thinking Goal: Your conclusion is logically tied to information. You have identified consequences and implications clearly.]

3. Reflection needs to happen in community, in interaction with others.

[ CCSP “Critical Skill #8: [Strategic thinkers] are committed to and seek advice from others. They may use a coach, a mentor, a peer advisory group or some other group that they can confide in and offer up ideas for feedback.”] (“Strategic Thinking,” n.d.)

4. Reflection requires attitudes that value the personal and intellectual growth of oneself and others.

[Developing a Community of Practice]


Critical Inquiry (AFCI 101). (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2022, from University of South Carolina Aiken website: https://www.usca.edu/academic-affairs/general-education/critical-inquiry.dot

Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining Reflection Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842-866.(1).pdf

Strategic thinking: 11 critical thinking skills. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2018, from Center for Simplified Strategic Planning website: https://www.cssp.com/CD0808b/ CriticalStrategicThinkingSkills/

Feel free to check out the full article if you’re interested! (John Dewey was a top influencer in the field of public education.)



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

CRIT 602 Readings and Resources Copyright © 2019 by Granite State College (USNH) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book