Apply Critical Thinking
Early one morning at work, CEO Alice Johnson asks if you have a moment to chat. I need your expertise and advice on a complicated situation for the company regarding an international hacking lawsuit. In her office, Alice explains that CyberTech is serving as the cyber forensics consultant for a law firm handling the suit from a 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management, OPM. The OPM hack compromised background information on millions of workers. In a related case Anomalous, a non-US gray hat hacking group suspected in the OPM breach case, is claiming that US-based Equation Set attempted to hack its facilities. So we have a non-US and a US set of test hacker groups involved. With Anomalous, the non-US group, being a client plaintiff in one case against Equation Set, the US group, and as a suspect in the OPM breach. But Alice then outlines why the case is problematic. Along with the OPM victims, CyberTech represents clients from some of the OPM breach suspect companies in unrelated cases, which could appear to be a conflict of interest. This could affect the way our company is perceived by others. We need to maintain our image as an unbiased cyber security consultant. Should CyberTech remain on both the OPM breach investigation and the overseas case at the same time? Or should we drop one of the cases? Apply your critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out what happened what we know and don’t know, and how the company might remedy this situation. I’d like a paper by the end of the week with your recommendations.
In this project, you will address a case study that intentionally does not give you enough detail for you to quickly resolve the issue. This is meant to enable you to use the processes of critical thinking to reach conclusions. Given the gaps in information provided to you, you will identify what you know, what you don’t know, and what questions you need to ask as you start your investigation of the facts of the case. The process is designed to encourage clear thinking and to help you to identify potential cognitive traps that could derail well-reasoned conclusions.
There are six steps that will lead you through this project. Most steps of this project should take no more than two hours to complete. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the fictional scenario that forms the framework for this project. Then continue with Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically.
Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically
In this first step, you will prepare to respond to your boss’s request for an analysis of a problem in your organization. You realize that this will require careful thinking. So, you need to take time to review the process of critical thinking and problem analysis, as well as key habits of master thinkers and ethical decision making.
When you have finished your review of the learning resources, move on to the next step to identify the problem.
Step 2: Identify the Problem
Now that you’re prepared to think critically, it’s time to analyze the situation. Remember the direction from your CEO is to analyze the situation and advise on the two lawsuits. Review the video or transcript in the Start Here as needed.
We suggest focusing on determining if a conflict of interest would exist in handling the two cases that might be related and on advising your CEO on how to proceed.
Outline the points that you want to make in the first two sections of your paper (introduction and explanation), and draft those sections.
Step 3: Analyze the Information
Now that you have some understanding of the nature of the problem and the parties involved, it’s time to gather and analyze information. The problem analysis resources will aid your analysis and development of the third section of the paper.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information, then draft that section.
In the following step, you will consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions.
Step 4: Consider and Analyze Other Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions
Once you have completed your analysis of the incident, the next step is to consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions. To do this, you will need to apply ethical decision making skills. If you missed it earlier, we also recommend that you read Randolph Pherson’s “The Five Habits of the Master Thinker,” a paper written for intelligence analysts, but applicable to all analytical thinking and reasoning.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 4: Analysis of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions, and draft that section of your paper.
When you are finished, move to the next step, which involves developing your conclusions.
Step 5: Develop Well-Reasoned Conclusions
Now that you’ve considered various viewpoints, you’re ready to develop your own personal conclusions and suggest solutions that your boss can bring to leadership in briefing them about the situation.
Remember, you may need to consult outside references, but this is not a research paper. It should be investigative in nature about the facts of the case. Cite any outside sources carefully.
Now, outline your argument and draft Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations, the final section. Your boss is expecting to receive a concise, focused paper to prepare for further meetings. Stay focused on the main points, although you may have many facts that could be used to answer any questions. You will submit your paper in the final step.
Step 6: Submit the Critical Thinking Paper
The final paper should be no more than five double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and references page(s). Organize the paper in accordance with your preparatory steps, using these subheadings:
Title of Paper (centered and bold) There is no heading named “Introduction”
Explanation of the Issue (centered and bold)
Analysis of the Information (centered and bold)
Consideration of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions (centered and bold)
Conclusions and Recommendations (centered and bold)
If you have used any outside sources, you will include a References page in proper APA 7 format.
Here are some tips for success:
Consider outside sources if they inform your case. However, stay on task.
Use APA style for in-text and reference citations. At this point, your citations should be error-free.
Consider these best practices for a paper:
An effective introduction grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone and direction for the rest of the paper.
Supporting paragraphs move the reader from the general introduction to the more specific aspects of your analysis.
Body paragraphs provide support for your argument.
A conclusion leads to a natural closing for what you have presented.