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Critical Thinking and Inquiry - Education Research


Education Research has long been concerned with definition and recognition of Critical Thinking, and with the pedagogical techniques that foster its development in students. More recent research into pedagogical strategies has re-cast discussion of critical thinking into a discussion of promoting "Inquiry-Based Learning."

Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

A classic study in educational research by Bloom and Krathwohl (Bloom et al., 1956 ) provides a very useful, commonly cited framework from which educators can promote the development of thinking skills. This framework associates six Educational Objectives (of increasing sophistication) with a set of skills or abilities that demonstrate each of the objectives:
Knowledge
arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, state
Comprehension
classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate, understand
Application
apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write
Analysis
analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test
Synthesis
arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write
Evaluation
appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, defend, estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate

Fundamental Necessities for Scientific Inquiry

Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning (more info) , published by The National Academy Press, is a valuable resource for instructors who want to implement inquiry-based learning in their classes. Among other things, this book from the National Research Council lays out abilities that are necessary in order to do scientific inquiry and necessary understandings about what scientific inquiry actually is. (Excerpts from Tables 2-2 and 2-3.) Note that while these tables are labeled as applying to secondary school, they are obviously applicable to undergraduate education as well.

Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry - Grades 9-12


Understandings About Scientific Inquiry - Grades 9-12


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