Critical Thinking for Engineers


1-day course

CPD Credit: 7 hours, C2

Course Overview

Since the time of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates (in the West) and Confucius (in the East) – Critical Thinking has been studied and practiced in Science, Law, Philosophy and other disciplines.

In today’s modern world it has never been more needed, under-utilised and in many cases misunderstood.

Through its lack of practical application, Problems can take longer to resolve, solutions are often implemented without adequate risk and cost benefit analysis and Frameworks (for Problem Solving, Project Management, Knowledge Management etc) can be poorly designed and applied.

This workshop will map the Critical Thinking Landscape showing the relevant inputs, process and outputs that can be practically applied in an Engineering Environment.

Learning without thought is labour lost, thought without learning is perilous. Study without reflection is a waste of time, reflection without study is dangerous” - Confucius 551-479 BC

Critical Thinking is thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better” - Richard Paul (1940 – 2015)

Trainer's Learning Approach

The workshop is designed to be practical, and attendees will complete a number of Instructor led exercises both individually and in teams.

Reference and use of the following tools will be included along with relevant case studies and examples:

  • Socratic Questioning
  • Argument Mapping
  • 9 Windows - Mental Modelling
  • 5Ws and 1H
  • Basadur Analysis
  • TOC - Resolving Conflicts

Course Programme

  • Lateral, Vertical and Creative Thinking
  • Critical Thinking Overview - Analysis, Evaluation, Inference and Reflective Judgement
  • Critical thinking System Map - in Detail
  • Critical Thinking Frameworks 
  • How we think
  • Socratic Questioning – applying for Critical Thinking
  • Applying Critical Thinking to Analytical Problem Solving
  • Memory and Comprehension – WM, EM, LTM, Mental Modelling and Cognitive Load
  • Aristotle (logic) vs Confucius (pragmatism and timely balance) – importance to Critical Thinking technique
  • A Learning Organisation – how it brings all the elements together, and the role of Systems Thinking

Trainer Profile

Paul Comiskey has spent 38 years working in Military, Marine, Academic and Industry Organisations.

He is a qualified Engineer (practicing) and Physicist (MSc) and holds a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from CAMMS.

He has worked in the USA, Japan, China, and Europe as both an Engineer and Manager.

He possesses specific expertise in Knowledge Management, Analytical Problem Solving (APS), Inventive Thinking (TRIZ), Systems and Critical Thinking and practices and teaches in Industry and at Universities in both Ireland and Asia.


  • Diarmuid Barry, Fingleton White & Co Ltd.: "Excellent"
  • “Very thought provoking and challenging”
  • “Excellent course”
  • “Very interesting”
  • “Well delivered, plenty of useful tools and thoughts”
  • “Good course, [I] enjoyed Paul’s presentation style”

Please contact the Team for further information on scheduled course dates and In-Company options. You can reach us by phone: 01 665 1305 or email