"What is the relationship between informative, explanatory, and persuasive statements and critical thinking?"
Critical thinking relies upon well-informed arguments about the topic at hand. In broad terms, critical thinking is the process of determining which statements about the world are true and which are false. In its most basic terms, we can think of an argument as a set of premises and some conclusion.
Informative statements are the first step in persuading someone of a given thesis or conclusion. A thesis is a statement about the world. Informative statements provide the audience with a set of objective facts, which may be historical (based on events known to have taken place in the past) or scientific (based on experimental results and/or scientific theories). Informative statements can be thought of as the foundation or building blocks for a persuasive statement. They are akin to the premises of an argument, and they should be based on facts and universally agreed upon principles rather than opinions. A given set of information could be used as evidence in any number of different lines of argument. Therefore, informative statements can be thought of as essentially neutral; in general, they do not require a particular stance to be seen as true. They simply establish the knowledge of the speaker and the fundamental facts in a given subject area.
Explanatory statements provide more depth and detail than informative statements and cement an argument together. They may tell the audience why or how something has happened in the past or tends to happen. They may also provide the motivations for the participants in a given event or provide additional lines of reasoning toward the thesis or conclusion. Whereas informative statements provide neutral facts and evidence, explanatory statements provide lines of reasoning, models, and theories. They provide the path from the informative statements, the starting point of the argument, to the persuasive statements (conclusions).
An effective persuasive statement is the conclusion of an argument. Persuasive statements are the author's attempt to convince the audience that their stance is true. Persuasive statements rely on informative statements for their basic foundation and on explanatory statements to give the audience a path from that information to the writer's conclusion. A persuasive statement may also take into account certain philosophical, political, or moral values or certain practical goals. Persuasive statements, unlike informative statements, involve some stance or position on an issue, and they are more complex because they usually involve a statement about a cause and effect relationship, a theory, or a prediction about the world.
Critical thinking, as whole, is the practice of evaluating different persuasive statements (conclusions) in light of the information (premises) and explanations given. The truth of a given thesis or persuasive statement relies on the truth of the premises (informative statements) and the strength of the arguments (explanatory statements). An effective argument requires critical thinking on the part of the person who is constructing the argument to evaluate the strength of these various parts.