Architects are often in the role of soliciting requirements from a range of sources and stakeholders. As we have all experienced, this exercise is met with a wide range of opinions and perspectives from stakeholders who think they know what is required, and with a wide range of confusion and vagueness from those who don’t know what they want. 

Given this situation, the architect needs to be able to dig into the issues, collect accurate and relevant information, and question assumptions. Then, the architect has to be able to examine the different opinions, evaluate them in the context of different perspectives, and balance and prioritize them.

The field of study called Critical Thinking is aimed at just these problems. In this paper Mike Rosen provides an introduction to critical thinking and draws a parallel between these generic skills and the tasks of an architect.