Critical vs Creative Thinking Research Project


Two types of thinkingcritical and creative – usually identify and characterize the person according to mental abilities. Each type derives from a special mindset, which a person is born with.

That’s why it is supposed that the thinking style does not change throughout the years of human life and is tightly connected to personality.

People usually choose their careers and even ways of life on the basis of individual interests and inclinations. Some people know in advance that their vocation lies in technical specialization while others deny statistical, mathematical and analytical professions referring themselves to creative personalities or humanists. These are two completely different approaches. But where does the real difference lie?

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Explanation of critical and creative thinking approaches

People whose main mental activity is based on analysis and assumptions about the surrounding environment are those with critical thinking, Breanne Harris identifies. These people judge, select and make the best choices according to the principle of true and false. The name of the thinking style derives directly from what it stands for – an ability to evaluate options and apply critics to them on the basis of available information. In other words, critical thinkers do not create new information – they just use what is found around them. Their vision is based on the already existing material things and they try to make parallels or find something common between them. That means that critical thinking will most probably help to solve the existing problem by the means of reasoning. The facts are taken from the real world and processed, after that final outcome appears (Teacher Tap).

The opposite way of thinking is creative thinking. According to Breanne Harris, creative thinking helps to produce new ideas and concepts and sometimes fails to explain them. People of creative professions are mostly influenced by this type of thinking. These people are artists very often. They do not have to be precise in their vision of existing things. Their method of thinking is called ‘brainstorming’ or ‘thinking out of the box’. The product of their creation is called unique and contemporary. Tap Teacher informs that creative thinking is the foundation of curiosity and alternative solutions.

Testing thinking methods in two areas of knowledge

Math is believed to be an exact science. When evaluating math as an example, one should agree that people with developed critical thinking will be more successful on the math lessons and further at the jobs where analytical skills or technical education are necessary. Mathematics is a prerequisite of many applied sciences and is used in different spheres of everyday life. It is a basis for production, construction, architectural, informational, financial and other industries which help us to create a functional infrastructure and achieve modern standards of life.

Let us remember some stereotypes. Students at schools who are good in math are usually not so communicative with peers. It happens because they either spend a lot of time studying or their range of interest does not coincide with that of most other people. But should we then say that people with critical thinking are the minority? I suppose no. As it turns out, such students are usually better in physics, biology or similar studies than the youth they study with. Analogical thinking, classification abilities and reasoning are their advantages which can later be used in technical and economic fields of studies. The approach of critical thinkers focuses on the validation of theory or suggestion. The primary source of knowledge for them is rational experience. Critical thinkers usually test beliefs, and beliefs are known to be the foundation of the Theory of Knowledge (Theory of Knowledge). The existence for them can be proofed when there is evidence.

Creative thinking method is most probably a way how artists perceive the world. Teacher Tap acknowledges that creative thinking is usually associated with the development of something new. Artists skillfully use the abilities to modify, infer or relate. The result of their work is not always obvious in advance. Brainstorming and idea generation are the most common activities which are related to artists. They do not have to distinguish, evaluate and provide criteria for the data – they just build the new data sets.

My personal experience shows that creative thinkers do not even ponder over another way of life for themselves and find themselves satisfied in the state they are in. They seldom have much in common with a person who thinks critically. The way artists perceive the world sometimes seems to be superficial. According to the Theory of Knowledge, reason is the main drive for creativity to emerge. Therefore, this allows creative thinkers to draw information from the sources that are hidden from the general public.

Interaction of critical and creative thinking

Sometimes people confess since school years that they are not that good in math and making calculations. Many of them later become linguists, designers or sales managers. The aforementioned jobs and occupations have not so much to do with the profession of an artist. One can suppose that these people do not use creativity on everyday basis. These people are not info technical aspects as well. There are only two methods of thinking, and none seems to perfectly match the profile of such individuals.

Not all artists create totally new concepts. Borrowings, modifications and reworks are the foundations of art for many creative individuals. One can easily declare that these people use not only imagination but also previous experience. They analyze it and provide a new shape or expression for it. Isn’t that similar to critical thinking? Should we always refer artists to creative thinkers just because their latest creations have something different from what has been recently displayed?

Let us take the suggestion that people generate knowledge by mixing thinking methods together for granted. According to Breanne Harris, the combination of critical and creative thinking is known as ‘good thinking’. It can serve as a balance which characterizes a person from different sides. Besides, there is a suggestion that the mix of the methods is really more widespread than each type of thinking individually (Theory of Knowledge). One can also fail to recognize any specific traits or skills from a single thinking style in an individual. Some of the skills described for each thinking style are shared. That’s why one cannot deny the evidence of similarity and interchangeability between styles. Otherwise, this would mean that people act by learning or adapting someone’s behavior rather than consciously developing own model of thinking and perception.


To conclude the suggestion above, I would identify the points of contact between critical thinking and creative thinking. Being opposite and sometimes even contradictive, both thinking methods are based on the same approaches and human skills. A set of such skills characterizes the way the person perceives own strengths and weaknesses, chooses occupation and specifies priorities in life. In terms of the Theory of Knowledge, the usefulness of each mental thinking type cannot be definitely evaluated, because this parameter is quite personal for each individual.

Breanne Harris, Critical Thinkers. Creative Thinking vs. Critical Thinking: Which is More Important? (accessed November 24, 2011).
Teacher Tap. (accessed November 24, 2011).
Theory of Knowledge. (accessed November 24, 2011).

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