Education

Scientific reasoning on paper

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1115-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6380.1115-f

Helping students develop skills in both critical thinking and scientific reasoning is fundamental to science education. However, the relationship between these two constructs remains largely unknown. Dowd et al. examined this issue by investigating how students' critical thinking skills related to scientific reasoning in the context of undergraduate thesis writing. The authors used the BioTAP rubric to assess scientific reasoning and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test to assess critical thinking. Results support the role of inference in scientific reasoning in writing, while also revealing other aspects of scientific reasoning (epistemological considerations and writing conventions) not related to critical thinking. In considering future implications for instruction, the authors suggest that further research into the impact of interventions focused on specific critical thinking skills (i.e., inference) for improved science reasoning in writing is needed.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 10.1187/cbe.17-03-0052 (2018).

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