Why Is It Important to Reflect on How Our Beliefs Guide Our Research Actions?
A Critical Reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core. Critical reflection is not a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet. Rather, the goal is to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behaviour.
Critical thinking is clear, reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It means asking probing questions like “How do we know?” or “Is this true in every case or just in this instance?” It involves being skeptical and challenging assumptions rather than simply memorizing facts or blindly accepting what you hear or read. Imagine, for example, that you’re reading a history textbook. You wonder who wrote it and why, because you detect certain biases in the writing. You find that the author has a limited scope of research focused only on a particular group within a population. In this case, your critical thinking reveals that there are “other sides to the story.” Who are critical thinkers, and what characteristics do they have in common? Critical thinkers are usually curious and reflective people. They like to explore and probe new areas and seek knowledge, clarification, and new solutions. They ask pertinent questions, evaluate statements and arguments, and they distinguish between facts and opinion. They are also willing to examine their own beliefs, possessing a manner of humility that allows them to admit lack of knowledge or understanding when needed. They are open to changing their mind. Perhaps most of all, they actively enjoy learning, and seeking new knowledge is a lifelong pursuit. This may well be you! No matter where you are on the road to being a critical thinker, you can always more fully develop and finely tune your skills. Doing so will help you develop more balanced arguments, express yourself clearly, read critically, and glean important information efficiently. Critical thinking skills will help you in any profession or any circumstance of life, from science to art to business to teaching. With critical thinking, you become a clearer thinker and problem solver.
The concept of religious faith is not universally acceptable by all. There are those who do not believe in the existence of a supreme being controlling the universe but chose to have logical and scientific evidence and explanation concerning any belief they may be having. They see religious faith as a misconception of what is real and those who choose to engage in it as being escapists who try to justify their illogical beliefs by disguising these beliefs as faith. Religious faith has at times been criticized for its lack of tangible scientific evidence. This has been the source of conflict between the major religions, whose proponents believe that everything in the Holy Scriptures is true, and scientists who at times have been unable to verify the truth and validity of certain claims in these Books. Faith has also been seen by some people as something close to mental illness. The behavior of those professing a certain faith at times is beyond human reasoning and hence it becomes hardor impossible for anyone using reason to convince such a person that their belief is illogical. Extremes in faith have been known to cause people to engage in things that not everybody can understand (Jackson, 2010). People have been killed and others have been engaged in killing others not of their religious faith. For example the Christian martyrs who would not denounce their faith and instead chose to die for what they believed in.
Generally speaking, social norms aren’t identical in different countries, and ethical standards can vary as well. A business may operate in a country that permits actions that would be considered unethical under that business’s ethical code. How will employees working in that country handle that situation, especially if something that could be considered unethical in one place is actually thought to be important to business success in the other? For instance, in some cultures it is customary for business partners and customers to be invited to weddings, with the expectation that guests will give a cash gift to the bride and groom. A company might consider the gift an unethical bribe in exchange for a customer’s business, yet it may be essential to enter a new market. Adhering to ethical standards in such instances can be difficult.
Jackson, P. (2010).Extremes of Faith and Nation: British Fascism and Christianity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Migliore, D. L. (2004). Faith seeking understanding: an introduction to Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans. pp. 3-8.