Critical Thinking Skills: As a Consumer


Critical Thinking Skills: As A Consumer

Throughout our daily lives there has come a time or two where thinking outside the box was necessary. This form of thinking enables a person to examine a problem, analyze its validity, apply scientific thinking, and ask questions, all in a hope of drawing a conclusion to a particular issue. This intellectual form of thinking has branched out of the psychological, scientific field, and has moved towards a consumer’s way of thinking. The objective of this paper is to locate a current article published within the last six months, provide a brief summary of the issued presented, evaluate the article’s strengths and weaknesses, analyze the source’s credibility, explain the importance of critically evaluating information, and provide the utility of the information for a behavioral health researcher.

Brief Summary of the Issue Presented Within the Article Located

The article that I located was found within Emerson College on line database. Author Dan O’Brien (2014) published, Ask for Evidence Spawns Critical Thinking in March of this year. The text spoke about a new research endeavor supported by a donor funded Consumer Awareness Project grant created to help Emerson students develop their critical thinking skills as consumers. According to O’Brien (2014),”The Ask for Evidence Campaign is part of a national campaign to improve consumer awareness and truth in advertising” (para.2). The campaign teaches its students to ask questions and investigate claims made to consumers through advertisements, such as news reports and allegiant expert testimonies. Students are putting their scientific and critical thinking skills to work, asking questions to some of these skeptical advertised companies through emails, letters, social media platforms, and phone calls (O’Brien, 2014). All of this effort is to discover if their claims are able to be researched and still hold their validity. However, after reading the article it was discovered that some of the advertisement was unfounded or misleading (O’Brien, 2014).

Ask for Evidence Spawns Critical Thinking Strengths

This article had several strengths composed within the text. After reading the entire article, the first and main strength was that the information was relevant to utilizing critical thinking skills. The students also collected evidence from the advertisement companies by asking questions, organizing the data, if any, that was collected as a response from the individual, and conducting their own research. This evidence was convincing and appropriate for the contents of the article. The article was also composed of a valid argument, which explained the necessity of using critical thinking as a way of determining an advertised claim. The information was also geared towards an appropriate audience. This is said because the campaign originated with only Emerson student’s participation, and now it has branched out into the public and everyone is encouraged to share their evidence and findings. The article is also encouraged by professionals within the college. Vashlishan Murray, a Molecular Biologist, who teaches science at Emerson, says Ask for Evidence can help students in a variety of academic fields and also develops important life skills (O’ Brien, 2014). She explains, “In the sciences, it’s a way to teach research skills in terms of how to ask questions and what to be skeptical of” (para. 8). Finally, the supervisors of the campaign are headed up by experienced faculty members in the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Marketing Communication, Communication Studies, and the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies (O’ Brien, 2014). Yuretich (2004) explains that many faculty members assert one of their goals is to encourage their students to reason like scientist or think critically.

Ask for Evidence Spawns Critical Thinking Weaknesses

After critically evaluating the article I found some weaknesses from within the information provided. First, the article only provided one form of evidence that supported the claim of false advertisement, when it stated that there were more than 200 cases. Another weakness was their claim was not supported by any outside sources such as peer-reviewed journals. The article also lacked substance because it was shorter than usually and left much to desire. The article also did not specify any assumptions a reader may develop after reading the material. As a result of that, the argument was weakened. There was also no implications for accepting the argument being explained within the article. Overall, the material was clearly written, but there were minor weaknesses within the text that caused me to be skeptical about the information being conveyed to me.

The Source’s Credibility

The credibility of this source was evaluated and deemed valuable only after I considered certain aspects of the article it self. After researching the author Dan O’Brien, I found that he was someone with a degree and credentials similar to the topic discussed within the article. The information was also located on a education (edu.) website which was created by Emerson College professionals and not some blog. The source was also current and was published within a six month period. The campaign was launched by Sense About Science, a international non-profit organization that is currently aiding Emerson with its campaign. (O’Brien, 2014). This financial backing also illustrates the credibility of the source. Overall, I found this information to be credible and appropriate for academic use.

The Importance of Critically Evaluating Information

Evaluating information received is an important part of utilizing literacy skills. This is said because, information can be located on just about any type of portal nowadays. For example, one could find information through the media, internet, library, social networks, and magazines. With all this information floating around a individual could become overwhelmed. That is why it is extremely important to know how to critically evaluate information for its accuracy, validity, and testable measures. In academic writing, we are taught early on to demonstrate analyzation, evaluation, and critical thinking skills when determining which sources are appropriate for our assignments. Lack of these skills could result in the gathering of bias, prejudice information that could possibly weaken you argument.

The Utility of This Information for a Behavioral Health Researcher

Behavioral health researchers, within their field of study, find it a necessity to utilize critical thinking skills when caring for their patients. This is said because, critical thinking provides reasoning in a systematic approach, rationalizes, organizes information, and draws conclusions towards a person’s health. They are also able to answer certain questions about a patient’s needs. It is a problem solving approach to behavioral health care that is only accomplished within a intellectual frame of thinking. Overall, as the behavioral health care field advances in treatment methods it is only the inevitable for the researcher to advances in his or her way of thinking and reasoning.


In conclusion, critical thinking has become an important part of every day living. People demonstrate this intellectual form of thinking within the scientific field, academic settings, and now within the way they buy merchandise. The article found explains how consumers should utilize their critical thinking skills when evaluating advertisements for their validity. However, the use of this form of thinking is a necessity for conducting research within the behavioral health care field. Overall, critically thinking expands one’s mind from an ordinary way of thinking into a more advanced way of making inferences towards a resolution.


O’Brien, D. (2014). Ask for evidence spawns critical thinking. Retrieved from, R. O. (2012). Health psychology: A biopsychosocial approach [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. New York, New York: Worth Publisher. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, PSYCH626 website.

Yuretich, R. (2004). Encouraging critical thinking. Journal of College Science Teaching, 33(3), 40-45. Retrieved from