The thinking process to finding a solution is area where most people do not take the time to perform correctly. In this essay, the problem of lowering an electric bill will be the example. Critical thinking is needed for energy conservation to lower an electric bill because standby power consumption is a major contributing factor to higher costs and research shows that by using technology will lower energy costs. The thinking process is a complex process and should use (1) multiple sources, (2) methods to analyze the information of the sources, and (3) how the resources are used to solve the problems as in the example of lowering costs for a better understanding.
In researching the topic of lowering an electric bill, the first part of the thinking process is where one goes for information. With a plethora of information on the internet, at libraries, and research facilities, the importance to narrow a search to specifics of the issue or problem and looking for a more direct relevance towards the research is imperative. For the example of lowering an electric bill, sources are mostly derived from electricity and energy research, such as the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Lawerence Berkley National Laboratory [LBNL], 2009.) These laboratories research and findings will assist in finding the necessary information and evidence to support more specific claim in regard the example of lowering an electric bill. Then, a person should look for what type of technologies are there and what sources are available to aide in the evidence to support the claim of how the technology lowers the cost of consumption of energy. This research and information can be found on manufacturers' sites such as the Coolerado systems (a HVAC system that uses 90% less energy to cool a home (Coolerado Corporation, 2009).)
Process to Evaluate
Now that the sources are collected for the intended research, one must now evaluate and analyze the information found in the sources. Gather all the information possible for the problem so one can comprehensively consider the situation (Carter, Bishop, & Kravats, 2002, p. 95.) Many contributing factors are in this part of the research. Use CARS test for information quality (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support)(Harris , 1997.) One would look for statistics such as, standby power accounts for 5-10% of residential energy use (Roth & McKenney, 2007).) Statistics are always a valuable part of evidence collection in order to prove solutions through facts and statistics. During this process, one would analyze all the possible ways available. For conserving energy, one must look at all the products within a home with standby currents causing energy cost to elevate. Such as light dimmers, appliances, and electronic equipment which draws from the electric sockets. Sources, such as charts found at Lawerence Berkley National Laboratory website (LBNL, 2009,) show all the research and results on the individual areas for electric consumption in a graphical and logical format.
Solving the Problem
Now the last step in the process is to determine a solution to the problem. The problem here is how to lower consumption of energy to lower cost. After researching the issue, an in-depth knowledge of why and how home consumption of energy is found in standby energy. One must now find the solutions to the problem. Dozens of question can be asked here, such as what products are available for homeowners to lessen standby energy loss, cost relations to product, maintenance costs associated, and amount of energy conserved. By making a list of products that uses energy through standby energy loss for our example, a breakdown on the above questions can be used to find the best available products with the highest savings. Many questions and ideas may arise during this process. Plenty of examples may be available and in some cases a fresh new solution for an issue could be found. In determining the best possible solution to a problem, one must take the time to list out many aspects. Such as pros and cons, what worked and what did not. By visually reviewing all the possibilities, one may make an educated and unbiased decision supported by valid information.
The processes involved in critical thinking are complex and a very involved process. Understanding how and where is the key to assisting in how the complexity can be resolved. With many sources and materials available the research can last seconds to years, but by doing the proper research and gaining creditable and reliable information, a logical and outcome supported by evidence will produce a solution that is both respected and fully understood. The importance of having reliable sources and demonstrated examples are used to provide the substantial evidence that supports one's idea or possible solutions. By properly examining and analyzing all the collected facts and research, along with substantially proven examples put in a through and in-depth presentation, the persuasion and better understanding by one's peers will lead to a successful solution to an issue and the creditability of the person will well respected.
Lawerence Berkley National Laboratory (2009). Standby Power. Retrieved September 16, 2009, from http://standby.lbl.gov/standby.htmlRoth, K. W., & McKenney, K. (2007, December). Energy Consumption by Consumer Electronics in U.S. Residences (Report No. Reference D5525). Cambridge, Mass: TIAX.