Critical Thinking for Decisions and Data

Learn to apply fundamental principles for rational thought, logical problem-solving, and data-driven decision making.

Our daily world is awash with data, news, opinions, and competing priorities. Uncertainty makes good decision-making difficult. In the face of complexity and rapid change, certainty is impossible and rational decision-making can seem rare. 

In the absence of a critical thinking framework, people tend to backfill gaps in decision-making with intuition and bias. This isn't just ineffective - it’s dangerous. For professionals and organizations, intuition and judgment based on personal experience are notoriously unreliable. To make consistently accurate decisions, we need a solid foundation of data combined with disciplined critical thinking.  

Despite this backdrop and its challenges, it isn’t hard to quickly improve your logical thinking skills and decision-making. Critical thinking fundamentals are straightforward to apply. In this fast-paced class, a senior business coach will first guide you through effective critical thinking, then help you practice applying it to practical needs. 

2 days/14 hours of instruction
Education Credits
14 PDUs
14 PDUs
Public Classroom Pricing


GSA Price: $1195

Group Rate: $1195

Private Group Pricing

Have a group of 5 or more students? Request special pricing for private group training today.

Part 1: A Critical Thinking Baseline

  1. What we’ll cover
    1. Course Overview
    2. What is critical thinking?
    3. How you’ll apply what we’ll learn
  2. Basics of Socratic logic
    1. Making assertions
    2. Asking questions
    3. Judging premises
    4. Agreeing on premises
    5. Refuting premises
    6. Refining concepts of assertions
  3. Common fallacies
    1. Appeal to emotion
    2. Appeal to authority
    3. Bandwagon
    4. False dilemma
    5. Hasty generalization
    6. Red herrings
    7. Slothful induction
    8. Correlation/causation
    9. Anecdotal evidence
    10. Texas sharpshooter
    11. Middle ground
    12. Burden of proof
    13. Personal incredulity
    14. No true Scotsman
  4. Common sources of bias
    1. Confirmation Bias
    2. Self-Serving Bias
    3. The Curse of Knowledge
    4. Hindsight Bias
    5. Optimism/Pessimism Bias
    6. Dunning-Kruger Effect
    7. Sunk Cost
    8. Negativity Bias
    9. Decline Bias
  5. Case study: Sellmore (UCLA)


Part 2: Applying Critical Thinking and Data

  1. The importance of data
    1. Distinguishing evidence from non-evidence
    2. Data vs. information
    3. Criticality of data-driven culture
    4. Where do we find data?
    5. Case study: Best Buy (University of Illinois)
  2. What do we consider data?
    1. Distinguishing evidence from non-evidence
    2. Data vs. anecdote
    3. Using understanding of bias to isolate evidence
  3. Understanding Assumptions
    1. Finding assumptions
    2. Evaluating assumptions
    3. Assumption vs. risk
    4. Applying different points of view
    5. Informed action
  4. Applying critical reasoning to data applications
    1. Vetting data against critical thinking concepts
    2. Framing questions
    3. Defining relationships
    4. Building the logical data model
  5. Bias in Datasets
    1. Sources & provenance of data
    2. Evaluating data sources
    3. Common biases in datasets
    4. Case study: Google facial recognition
  6. Team relationships and communication
    1. Leveraging relationships
    2. Building consensus
    3. Understanding disagreement
    4. Consensus vs. disagreement
  7. Conclusion and Charting your Course
    1. Immediate actions
    2. What can you use immediately?
    3. Expert Q&A

This class is immensely valuable for anyone who wants to improve their professional ability to overcome uncertainty and bias, and make better decisions with hard data. You'll immediately benefit as a:

  • Leader, executive, or manager
  • Knowledge worker
  • Program and project managers
  • Team leads
  • Functional roles and leads
  • Product managers and owners
  • Development professionals
  • Creative professionals
  • Analytics professionals
  • Data-oriented roles

  • Solve the types of problems you face every day
  • Ask questions to isolate critical premises
  • Frame problems in a rational way
  • Make decisions based on facts, not opinion or political factors
  • Lead teams and groups in rational discussion
  • Isolate what matters from what distracts
  • Communicate your thought process to others persuasively 
  • Establish organizational awareness and promote a culture of critical thinking
  • Develop a consistent critical thinking approach, then apply it using real-world data in a practical context
  • Exercise an ability to justify and defend your decisions based on robust data and a strong business case 

Critical Thinking for Decisions and Data Schedule

There are currently no scheduled classes for this course. Please contact us if you would like more information or to schedule this course for you or your company.

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