Critical thinking is an approach to gathering data and making inferences about the world. It draws heavily on ideas from the scientific revolution and advocates an approach of data acquisition and rational assessment. When applying critical thinking the goal is to collect as much relevant data as possible, and then asses that data for accuracy, and finally use the data to arrive at the most justified conclusions possible. Critical thinking is an ongoing process and even ideas that one feels are well supported need to be occasionally reevaluated to see if new information might change ones mind.
Critical thinking uses many aspects of formal logic and informal logic. It also focuses on discovering bias, propaganda, delusion and deception both in the sources of ones information and ones own views and approaches to reasoning problems out.