Department or Administrative Unit
National stakeholders are becoming increasingly concerned about the inability of college graduates to think critically. Research shows that, while both faculty and students deem critical thinking essential, only a small fraction of graduates can demonstrate the thinking skills necessary for academic and professional success. Many faculty are considering nontraditional teaching methods that incorporate undergraduate research because they more closely align with the process of doing investigative science. This study compared a research-focused teaching method called community-based inquiry (CBI) with traditional lecture/laboratory in general education biology to discover which method would elicit greater gains in critical thinking. Results showed significant critical-thinking gains in the CBI group but decreases in a traditional group and a mixed CBI/traditional group. Prior critical-thinking skill, instructor, and ethnicity also significantly influenced critical-thinking gains, with nearly all ethnicities in the CBI group outperforming peers in both the mixed and traditional groups. Females, who showed decreased critical thinking in traditional courses relative to males, outperformed their male counterparts in CBI courses. Through the results of this study, it is hoped that faculty who value both research and critical thinking will consider using the CBI method.
Quitadamo, Ian J.; Faiola, Celia L.; Johnson, James E.; and Kurtz, Martha J., "Community-based Inquiry Improves Critical Thinking in General Education Biology" (2008). All Faculty Scholarship for the College of the Sciences. 242.
Life Sciences Education
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© 2008 by The American Society for Cell Biology
This article was originally published in Life Sciences Education. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.