According to Oxford Dictionaries.com, Critical Thinking is a noun meaning "The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment."
The Critical Thinking Core Competency Rubric provides a road map not only to thinking critically, but for information litereacy. The very skills necessary to successfully meet the requirements of the rubric are the same skills that you use when writing a research paper.
In fact, we tell our students in Library Information sessions to familiarize themselves with the rubric and think about it when they are researching and writing their papers.
These are an abbreviated form of the six cognitive skills used when thinking critically:
The Jonathan Edwards Library carries books on critical thinking and how to become better at it. Here's a couple of the several books we have on this subject.