Personal DevelopmentProblem Solving

Problem Solving Vs Critical Thinking: Are They Same?

Problem-solving and critical thinking, these two are completely different concepts. Problem-solving is a skill by which one can find out a suitable solution to a specific problem.

On the other hand, critical thinking is the practice of life long term, that helps you to improve your thinking process. It included analyzing problems and evaluating ideas, arguments, and evidence.

This writing aims to discuss the points, problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. These three are interrelated to one another. Problem-solving and critical thinking lead you to decision-making.

Now let’s dig into the explanation of problem-solving vs critical thinking.

What is called problem-solving?

The mental process or a personal skill that features discovering, exploring, and evolving problems is called problem-solving. The overall aim of problem-solving is to overcome barriers and check out the best solution to solve the problem.

Actually, problem-solving strategy varies from situation to situation. You have to apply your skills according to the situation. As for example, you can solve any painting problem by applying crafting skills.

For painting, you have to think about color; for crafting, you have to think about paper. Both contexts are different and require different skills and strategies.

Some people go through factual analysis, experience, and previous knowledge to lead to problem-solving.
What is the concept of critical thinking?

The concept of critical thinking is an intellectual process of analyzing, synthesizing, conceptualizing, evaluating, and exploring information, which you consider as a guide of action and conviction.

Basically, you think critically to have a clear conception regarding a fact. It helps to gain a complete idea to stick to one single belief or action, that instantly results in a specific solution to a problem.

Critical thinking is a very clear, open-minded, rational process that you always develop by evidence or proper proof. So, it is very effective in decision-making or solving problems.

Difference between problem solving and critical thinking

Problem-solving and critical thinking are both important to resolve any challenge or critical situation. But, these two have their individual purposes and techniques.

Now let’s have an idea about the differences between problem-solving and critical thinking.

Problem solving

Problem-solving is a set of skills or techniques that you use to find a suitable solution to a specific problem. It is more a decision-related step than something to improve. On the other hand, critical thinking is something that you can develop to improve your problem-solving skills.

If you improve your problem-solving skills, you can improve your analytical and creative thinking and make you effective in decision-making. In problem-solving, you have to maintain 4 steps, such as:

Defining the problem

The first step of problem-solving is defining the problem. This includes listing the factors that contribute to the problem. While going through this step, consider gathering all kinds of data to support your idea for solving the problem and also the victims of the problem.

Generating your ideas

The second step is to generate ideas for taking action. You may take the opinions of others who are into the problem. By this, your critical thinking may be encouraged.

Testing your ideas

The third step is to test ideas. In this, you can gather all your ideas and find out the strongest point to solve the problem. Make sure, you are considering all the opinions of your peers or the people facing the problem. Come up with a well-researched and unbiased solution.

Taking proper action

The last ever step is to take action. After analyzing and evaluating all of the ideas, now it is time to take action according to the plan. By all the steps, you will be able to find out a suitable solution to solve the occurring with the conscience of others.

Critical thinking

As opposed to problem-solving, critical thinking is more like an ingredient to the procedure of problem-solving. This is a lifelong strategy that helps an individual to develop rational thinking. It also lets you have a clear concept of your understanding and thinking level. This is a way of strengthening your own reasoning and other skills.

This critical thinking comprises 5 steps:

1. Identifying

In this step, you need to identify which part of your thinking process you want to develop. For example, how to structure the ideas, analyze data during research, or evaluate the information.

2. Doing investigation

This is the second part of critical thinking is to investigate. After collecting all the Data, you have to thoroughly investigate all the arguments, opinions, and resources so that you can understand the effectiveness of your gatherings.

3. Doing analysis

After getting all the data and information which are helpful and meaningful, it is time to analyze those and verify how resourceful they are for developing critical thinking skills and procedures.

4. Observe the reflection

In this stage, you will observe how your plan and action work for a certain matter, and how they reflect to solve an issue or develop any new angle.

5. Make Decision

After observing the reflection of your plan, you have to decide which part of the plan is more beneficial to indicate your critical growth and solve the issue. If you struggle to decide on any plan or action, you may discuss it with your peer or others, and then decide.

So, at last, it can be said that critical thinking is more like a ladder to the skills of problem-solving, these are related to each other but not the same thing.

Why are problem-solving and critical thinking important?

Problem-solving and critical thinking are important for economic reasons. These help people to make better decisions regarding career and livelihood. Such things also help to upgrade yourself as a human being.
If you think critically and solve the problem properly, you have a great opportunity to advance in life. These abilities put you aside and make you unique to others, and adaptive.

Having critical thinking skills let you become a great team leader and increase productivity and income. By adopting such techniques, you can predict and think about the outcome and make proper decisions to lead your team or mission successfully.

Critical thinking increases the skills of problem-solving. Having this quality, you can easily get into the cause of the problem and come out with a great solution. This develops your rationality and thinking power, and makes you a scanner to sort out every issue.

So do practice to develop your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

What are the steps to critical thinking and problem-solving?

The steps of critical thinking and problem-solving are already described in the difference between critical thinking and problem-solving. But for your concern, again the steps are being mentioned here:

5 Steps of critical thinking:

  • You should identify the parts of your thinking process to develop.
  • After identifying, investigate all the data.
  • Next, you have to analyze all the information, arguments, and opinion.
  • Now, you need to observe how your plans reflect to solve the rising issue.
  • Lastly, you have to decide your own pattern of critical thinking based on all the steps you have followed and the opinions of your mates.

4 Steps of Problem-solving, such as:

  • Firstly, you have to define your problem.
  • Secondly, you have to generate the ideas that are coming into your mind to solve the problem.
  • Thirdly, Test the effectiveness of your ideas.
  • The final step is to take action to solve the problem.


Is problem-solving another name for critical thinking?

No, problem-solving is a totally different term for critical thinking. You can say critical thinking is like a tree that gives the fruit of problem-solving. You need to think critically to find out a suitable solution to the problem. So critical thinking leads to problem-solving, but they don’t overshadow each other.

What comes first critical thinking or problem solving?

Definitely, critical thinking comes first. As said before, you need to think critically for problem-solving. So, it is clear here, critical thinking results in problem-solving. If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, then you have to learn how to think critically.


Critical thinking and problem-solving come hand in hand. They are like two best sisters that help you to be successful in life or career challenges. You can’t ignore these terms.

Critical thinking leads to problem solving and problem solving leads you to decision making. Now, it is your duty to gain these skills and upgrade yourself. There are so many videos on youtube to help you develop such kinds of abilities and for more concentration do meditation and brace yourself.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button