Keeping an intellectual Journal-Critical Thinking


As you journey through this unit, and are honing in on your critical thinking skills, you might have recognized theinformation regarding the Game PlanTo help in your critical thinking process, the Game Plan, located on pages 38-42 in your textbook, consisting of 10strategies, was created to help assist you in making critical decisions. One of the 10, Keep an Intellectual Journal, will be the main focus of this assignment, however, other strategies will be included.Throughout the week you are to keep a journal. Within this journal, list at least three situations that have occurred duringthe week that are emotionally significant to you (meaning things you deeply care about).From your list, accomplish the following, while keeping each situation separate from the rest:

  1. Describe each situation and explain why each was important to you.
  2. Describe how you behaved, with precise details, in each situation.
  3. Formulate at least two questions that ask what was going on during the situation, and explain your answer to

each question as a means of self-assessment.

  1. Of the nine strategies remaining, remember you are keeping an intellectual journal, choose two and explain how using them will help you in decision making to solve each situation you listed.

Sample paper

Keeping an intellectual Journal

  • Financial setback

            During the week, I experienced a major financial set back. This is after I spent more than I had budgeted for, putting me at a bad financial position. After attending a friend’s birthday party, I ended up spending more than I had initially planned. This is quite important since the money I spent was mean to last me for a whole month at school. It happened that we went to a mall and since my friends had little money left on them, I decided to pay for what I we needed. Later, I realized I spent way much beyond what I should have spent. I have spent the rest of the week wondering where I will get extra money. The first question I put across is: should I have volunteered to actually pay for all the items? The second question is: would my friends come to my aid if I had no money or when I am in a difficult situation? The answer to the first question is that I should have been careful about how much I spend. Regarding the second question, hardly any of my friends have offered to assist me with some pocket money.

  • A bad argument with my spouse

            At the beginning of the week, I had a bad argument with my husband. It is rare that I enter into an argument with my husband, and hence the situation affected me a lot emotionally. Lately, my husband was worried about the kind of friends I keep, insisting that they may be a bad influence. During the weekend, I went out with my friends and ended up spending the night at a friend’s house. I had not informed my husband that I was not planning to get back home. As the night went on, my husband became weary and unsuccessfully tried to reach me on my phone. When I went back home, he narrated how worried he had become. Shortly, a quarrel ensued about how irresponsible I am, and how inconsiderate I am. I tried to explain that my phone’s battery died but he could hear none of that. The first question is: (a) was my husband justified to get angry with me? And (b) should I have just apologized instead of getting into an argument? The answer to the former question is that my husband was justified to get angry with me since I did not explain my whereabouts. The answer to the latter question is that I should just have apologized.

  • Lost important data

            During the week, I lost important personal data from my laptop. This happened after I unknowingly downloaded a malware that destroyed some of my files. Unfortunately, I had not yet backed up any of my files. Getting back these files will cost a lot of money, which I was not prepared. This will require me to seek expert help about how I can recover the data. The first question is: why didn’t I back up the data? The second question is: why was I not careful about the files I download from the internet? From the former question, I kept postponing backing up my files on a CD, since I thought this would never happen. With regard to the second question, I was careless about the type of files I opened on the internet.

            The first strategy that can enable me solve the above situations is to internalize intellectual standards. According to Paul & Elder (2013), these include clarity, relevance, breadth, accuracy, precision, logic, and depth. For instance, by focusing on standard of clarity, I can be able to tell that I provided unclear information to my husband when I was going out with my friends. The second strategy is to reshape my character. In this strategy, an individual should pick an intellectual trait and focus on how to improve it. For instance, I can pick on humility and look for ways I can try to accept or admit that I am wrong.


Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your professional and   personal life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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