Critical thinking: Not just for majors

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Science  12 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6274, pp. 677-678
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6274.677-e

Being able to draw conclusions based on evidence in order to make an informed decision is a key aspect of scientific literacy. Rowe et al. report on a general education science course designed specifically to teach critical thinking, essentially the nature of science, rather than just the facts of science. Through the incorporation of case studies, the course examined science as it relates to the students' daily lives (for example, the vaccine-autism controversy) by using scientific processes such as argumentation, evaluating data, drawing conclusions, and designing the next experiment. A pre/post-test survey showed that participating students significantly improved their critical thinking skills and were more willing to engage with science that the public finds controversial.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 10.1187/cbe.15-02-0032 (2015).

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