Reasoning skill involves the process of taking in information and making inferences based on what an individual knows to be true. A gauge of one’s intellectual abilities, reasoning enables people to understand ideas and concepts better, and arrive at logical conclusions.
Types of Reasoning
There are many types of reasoning but the most widely used are: deductive, inductive, conditional, comparative, exemplar, cause and effect, and systemic reasoning. Deductive reasoning starts with the general theory or idea, and breaks it down to specifics. Such reasoning is usually used by scientists when studying scientific laws; they perceive a scientific law to be true, and thus, apply it to certain cases. Inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive such that its basis of reasoning is specific instances, arriving at a general idea or concept.
Conditional reasoning makes use of syllogism wherein conclusions are based on the “ifs” which means that “if A is true, then B is also true.” Comparative reasoning makes use of comparisons to arrive at an answer or conclusion. Exemplar reasoning points out examples to support ideas. Cause and effect shows correlation and explains why things happen, and has very similar concept to conditional reasoning. And lastly, systemic reasoning analyzes all aspects involved and considers relationships between these aspects to arrive at a conclusion.
The Importance of Reasoning
It is said the reasoning is an invaluable skill for anyone who wants to thrive in the social arena. It is concerned with being able to defend one’s beliefs and ideas, as well as being able to analyze other people’s thoughts, actions, and beliefs. Reasoning is essential for problem-solving and decision-making. It enables people to make logical assessments, differentiate the good from the bad, and understand simple and complex situations presented to them. In the absence of this skill, it is hard to see things from an objective point of view and people would tend to make use of their emotions instead of logic in dealing with issues and concerns; judgment can easily be clouded and as a result, our ability to astutely assess and analyze things can be tested. Moreover, a lack of reasoning abilities would also indicate inability to understand instructions, which puts people at a disadvantage in dealing with day to day tasks in the workplace.
How to Enhance Reasoning Skill
Reasoning skills can be used and applied in almost every area of our lives. People with good reasoning skills are intellectually-gifted or have been consciously applying this skill for quite some time already that it has become natural and effective for them. However, simply because one does not have sufficient reasoning skills at the moment does not mean there is no longer any chance for improvement. Regardless of how young or old a person is, there is still a chance to enhance this skill.
Similar to other skills, reasoning can be improved and enhanced through practice and repetition. To do so, one must make use of certain micro skills such as (1) making conclusions and (2) analyzing data and information. These micro skills need to be used together in order to effectively provide reasoning.
Other ways to improve reasoning is to adopt critical thinking techniques, which are:
1. Focusing on key points
2. Asking questions
With the first technique, one needs to analyze information given and highlight on the main ideas. A person should be able to determine the relationship between the main ideas and make inferences based on these. Asking questions is important to reasoning because it gives a person a better understanding of the situation or idea given. Be sure to make follow up questions if necessary. Lastly, with synthesizing, this technique involves the bringing together of ideas and creating a new one based on these. This technique is helpful in enabling a person to understand things from several different perspectives.
Improving a person’s reasoning is a continuous development. It takes a long time to develop it, and longer even to perfect it. Remember that cognitive ability takes a lot of effort to advance. To effectively enhance one’s skill, he must make a conscious effort to analyze situations presented to him, and integrate the aforementioned techniques in the process.