Pearson's RED Critical Thinking Model

The RED model lays out a path for understanding how critical thinking works and for developing each of the essential skills. Let's take a look at each critical thinking skill.

Recognize Assumptions

This is the ability to separate fact from opinion. It is deceptively easy to listen to a comment or presentation and assume the information presented is true even though no evidence was given to back it up. Noticing and questioning assumptions helps to reveal information gaps or unfounded logic. Taking it a step further, when we examine assumptions through the eyes of different people (e.g., the viewpoint of different stakeholders), the end result is a richer perspective on a topic.

How to use it: When you’re gathering information, listening to what people say, or assessing a situation, think about what assumptions you have going in. Perhaps you assume that a trusted co-worker is providing reliable information – but is there really evidence to back that up? Learn to see gaps in logic, and opinion disguised as fact.

Evaluate Arguments

The art of evaluating arguments entails analyzing information objectively and accurately, questioning the quality of supporting evidence, and understanding how emotion influences the situation. Common barriers include confirmation bias, or allowing emotions-yours or others-to get in the way of objective evaluation. People may quickly come to a conclusion simply to avoid conflict. Being able to remain objective and sort through the validity of different positions helps people draw more accurate conclusions.

How to use it: We often have problems sorting through conflicting information because unknowingly let our emotions get in the way, or because – like just about everyone – we sometimes only hear what we want to hear. Learn how to push all that aside, and analyze information accurately and objectively.

Draw Conclusions

People who possess this skill are able to bring diverse information together to arrive at conclusions that logically follow from the available evidence, and they do not inappropriately generalize beyond the evidence. Furthermore, they will change their position when the evidence warrants doing so. They are often characterized as having "good judgment" because they typically arrive at a quality decision.

How to use it: This is the payoff. When you think critically, the true picture become clear, and you can make the tough decision, or solve a difficult problem.


Click to Open an Infographic Showing RED Applied to Nursing