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Analytical skill is the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions that are sensible given the available information. Such skills include demonstration of the ability to apply logical thinking to gathering and analyzing information, designing and testing solutions to problems, and formulating plans.
In 1999, Richards J. Heuer Jr., explained that: “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But like many other skills, such as riding a bike, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”
To test for analytical skills one might be asked to look for inconsistencies in an advertisement, put a series of events in the proper order, or critically read an essay. Usually standardized tests and interviews include an analytical section that requires the examiner to use their logic to pick apart a problem and come up with a solution.
Although there is no question that analytical skills are essential, other skills are equally required. For instance in systems analysis the systems analyst should focus on four sets of analytical skills: systems thinking, organizational knowledge, problem identification, and problem analyzing and solving. It also can describe how one identifies a problem and subsequently works out the solutions.
- “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis”, Richard J. Heuer Jr, published by "Center for the Study of Intelligence", 1999, ISBN 1 929 667-00-0
- Briceland, Alan V. (February 1981). "The Group-Task Approach: Developing Analytical Skills in the United States History Survey". The History Teacher (Society for History Education) 14 (2): 191–207. doi:10.2307/493262. JSTOR 493262.
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