Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 31, Issue 2, Summer 2016

Marcus Gillespie, Steven D. Koether, Michelle L. Lewis
Pages 5-26

Fostering the Disposition to Think Critically and a Positive Attitude toward Science
The Results of a Successful Six-Year Study of an Innovative, General Education Integrated Science Course

Virtually all faculty members agree that teaching their students the ability and disposition to think critically is fundamentally important, and most believe that their pedagogical approaches enhance both. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that college students often fail to substantively improve their critical thinking skills. Other research regarding the public’s perception of certain science topics reveals that a significant proportion of the American public rejects scientific information, i.e., information that is based on both critical thinking and empiricism. This state of affairs limits the ability of individuals and society to make rational decisions. This article describes the results of a novel general education science course designed specifically to address these issues. The six-year study, involving more than 1,400 students, showed that the pedagogical approaches used in the course were successful in enhancing students’ critical thinking, their disposition to think critically, and their willingness to use scientific information when making decisions