Analytical thinking (noun)

an·a·lyt·i·cal | \ˌa-​nə-​ˈli-​ti-​kəl \
think·ing | \ ˈthiŋ-kiŋ\

Every decision you make in life has an impact. From the quality of life to your happiness, each decision counts. So, wouldn’t you want to make conscious choices? That's where analytical thinking comes in.

Before we jump in, take a peek at our analytical skill guide! 👀 It includes examples of analytical leaders, the do's and don'ts, and types of professionals that can benefit from practicing analytical thinking.

Analytical Thinking Skill Guide | Definition and Examples | Matter
Analytical Thinking is applying logical thinking to solve complex problems. Learn what is analytical thinking, examples, and how to improve it.

Analytical thinking definition

Merriam-Webster defines analysis as "a detailed examination of anything complex in order to understand its nature or to determine its essential features." And defines thinking as "the action of using one's mind to produce thoughts."

According to our definition, analytical thinking is the ability to tackle complicated issues by evaluating the information you’ve gathered and organized.

Whatever definition you go with, know that analytical thinking skills are encompass many other skills. It's not a one-step fix. It's a process that targets patterns between datasets to find creative solutions.

Origin of analytical thinking

According to Merriam-Webster, the word analytic first appeared in 1601 and was defined as “separating something into component parts or constituent elements.”

But, analytical thinking, also interchangeable with critical thinking, can be traced back to the Greek philosopher, Socrates. He established the importance of asking thought-provoking questions, seeking out evidence, and challenging beliefs before accepting ideas. Even though the term critical thinking was coined by John Dewey in 1910, the ideas stem back to Socrates.

Analytical thinking synonyms

Analytic synonyms include coherent, reasonable, logical, and sensible. Analytical thinkers are able to turn noisy, clustered data and information into action. To make a well-informed decision, here’s how analytical thinkers face problems:

  • Pinpoint the issue
  • Research and compile information
  • Brainstorm several solutions
  • Trial-and-error all possible solutions
  • Review and create a post-analysis

Whatever professional path you’re pursing, you’re likely to tap into your analytical thinking skills. There are various analytical thinking examples that you can develop. This skill has inherent value when it comes to building proficient teams, promoting creativity, and enhancing problem-solving skills — just to name a few benefits.

Analytical thinking antonyms

Analytic antonyms include illogical, irrational, and incoherent. When it comes to the workplace, you want to avoid analytical thinking antonyms since it can do some serious damage to your professional development and impact your chance to climb the career ladder.

  • Overcomplicated. Analytical thinkers search for simple and straightforward solutions. The habit of overcomplicating can lead to a waste in time and energy.
  • Stagnation. Strong analytical thinkers don't linger or halt the flow of ideas. Instead, they are consistently trying to flush out and develop ideas to find innovative solutions.
  • Assumptions. Part of analytical thinking is being logical, and assumptions are backed up by illogical thoughts. Before reaching a decision, analytical thinkers try to comprehend the situation from all angles before jumping to conclusions.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re utilizing your analytical thinking skills every day. Whether it’s picking out an outfit or navigating through a work problem, you’re tapping into your analytical thinking skills. It’s important to note that this skill doesn’t only pertain to a particular disciplinary or field. Analytical thinking is universal.


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