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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 30, Issue 3, Fall 2015

Pauletta G. Baughman, Gustavo M.S. Oliveira, Elizabeth M. Smigielski, Vida M. Vaughn
Pages 49-58

Evidence-Based Critical Thinking Exercise
Shaping Tomorrow’s Dental Choices

The objective was to educate first-year dental students on how to appraise new dental treatments by applying critical thinking (CT) and evidence-based dentistry (EBD) skills. To facilitate this task, we utilized a learning exercise involving a simulated office visit by a dental pharmaceutical representative. The simulated office sales call was conducted after instruction by dental school faculty and clinical librarians on EBD and CT principles. Students’ critical thinking and evi­dence-based practice skills were tested using a validated critical thinking assessment tool and a rubric-based written assignment. Results showed that ninety-one percent of students demonstrat­ed a high/positive response. Students agreed that the exercise helped them to consider multiple perspectives in subject matter. The majority of students also scored high/positive in understand­ing the components of a clinical question employing the PICO format. Students agreed that the instruction received supported their ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills. Eighty percent indicated instruction as having a high/positive impact on navigating complex clinical questions. The authors concluded that simulated office visit plus explicit instruction in EBD principles im­proved first year dental students’ CT skills.

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