Navigating Uncertainty

Using a structured critical thinking approach for complex decision-making

When dealing with complex problems, decision-making can be challenging due to the presence of uncertainty. This uncertainty can arise from various factors, such as the nature of the problem itself, the available options for making a decision and the potential consequences that may result from the decision.

The structure of evidence-based practice can be helpful in tackling this. Therefore, this tool focuses on the first four steps of evidence-based practice for decision-making: 

(1) ask – translating a complex problem into an answerable question;
(2) acquire – finding evidence from different sources;
(3) appraise – judging the trustworthiness of evidence;
(4) aggregate – combining the evidence towards a solution.

Students learn to use these steps to translate a problem into different questions that can be answered from different sources. This process involves seeking input from experts in the relevant field and expanding the viewpoint to three additional sources: considering stakeholder needs, gathering research evidence and thinking of ways to find local evidence.

Learning outcome

  • The student is able to apply critical thinking as a structured way of decisionmaking for complex problems