Thesis Title

An Intervention to Improve Critical Thinking in Nursing Students

Date of Graduation

Summer 2004

Degree

Master of Science in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Committee Chair

Susan Sims-Giddens

Keywords

critical thinking, reasoning, logic, inference, nursing education

Subject Categories

Nursing

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if second-year nursing students, who were exposed to the concepts of reasoning, could improve their critical thinking skills. The research questions were, (a) what is the effect of a logic-based reasoning intervention on the critical thinking skills of nursing students, (b) will the posttest scores on the core competencies be improved from the pretest scores, (c) what is the effect of the demographic variables on the difference in scores of the core competencies, and (d) how do the nursing students describe their learning experience. The intervention was designed to enhance the pattern recognition of arguments, assumptions, deductive and inductive reasoning, inferences, and creative thinking of the students. The intervention included a brief lecture, group activities, and discussion. Carper's four patterns of knowing served as the framework for the study. The research design was quasi-experimental with the independent variable being the logic-based reasoning intervention and the dependent variable being the critical thinking score on the Arnett Critical Thinking Entrance Examination. The convenience sample (N=40) was from a small, rural, North Central Arkansas associate degree nursing program. The students' critical thinking skills were evaluated using the Arnett Critical Thinking Entrance Examination (a self-report, paper-and-pencil format) in a pretest-posttest design. The data were analyzed using a Paired Sample T-test to compare the student's pretest and posttest core competency scores. A statistically significant difference was found on the two core competencies of interpretation and inference. A Pearson correlation coefficient found a weak relationship between the demographic variables and the core competencies scores. In the qualitative results the nursing students reported a positive learning experience. The implication of this research study is that it adds to the body of knowledge on improving critical thinking skills in nursing students.

Copyright

© Kathryn M. Jones

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