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Thinking skills

Effectively thinking about a question requires a number of skills that are ordered here into a small taxonomy of thinking skills.

In order to effectively use the question-centered skills described above in the framework for continuous learning, you need to gradually build up your expertise by learning in the following areas. You need to learn how to use your intuition to

simulate in your head

in order to turn the skills below from passive (read, repeat) to active (research, compare, combine).  

  1. Vocabulary
    Learn the what-is-what associations and definitions of the discipline to speak the language.
  2. Data
    What are the basic observations of the discipline? How reliable?
  3. Methods
    What are the basic tools for gathering, describing, comparing, analyzing and/or interpreting data? Try it to know it!
  4. Method selection
    How to select the best method for a given question? Method limits? When does a method fail?
  5. Method development
    How to develop a new method for a given question, when existing methods fail?
  6. Question
    How to assess the credibility of answers? What to trust/distrust?
  7. Question development
    What are rewarding questions to pursue and why?
  8. For System Understanding: Reductionistic analysis
    What are the parts of the system? Analytically take the system apart until you can study its parts separately.
  9. For System Understanding: Holistic creative synthesis
    How is the whole more than the sum of parts? Put it all together! Does it work again? Is something missing? Can you modify it rationally to achieve specified outcomes?