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ERIC Number: ED514978
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 188
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-9690-5
The Influence of Socratic Questioning in Online Discussions on the Critical Thinking Skills of Undergraduate Students: An Exploratory Study Based on a Business Course at a Proprietary University
Boulter, Marla Lynn
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, The George Washington University
This study examined the influence of instructor-facilitated Socratic questioning in online discussions on the critical thinking skills of undergraduate students enrolled in a proprietary institution with nonselective admissions criteria. A sample of students was purposively selected from two sections of an online introductory business course, with the expectation that these students would have diverse critical thinking skills. Two questions guided the study. How does instructor-facilitated Socratic questioning influence students' critical thinking in online discussions? Do students who receive instructor-facilitated Socratic questioning in online discussions participate more frequently in discussions than those who do not receive Socratic questioning? To address these questions, 25 participants were randomly assigned to two groups-a treatment group that received Socratic questioning in response to discussion messages or a control group that received traditional responses. Six discussions were analyzed using two methods of content analysis. Additionally, a pretest and a posttest of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test were administered. Qualitative and quantitative analysis using descriptive statistics, independent "t"-tests, chi-square tests, and a Wilcoxon test were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study revealed that Socratic questioning, compared with traditional instructional methods, did not have a statistically significant influence on the critical thinking of students with diverse critical thinking skills. Frequency of participation also was not affected by Socratic questioning. These findings are contrary to studies in which students with initially higher critical thinking skills increased their levels of critical thinking and participation in discussions as a result of Socratic questioning. The findings are supported, however, by other research indicating that low critical thinkers may not benefit from high problem solving instructional methods (Williams, Oliver, Allin, Winn, & Booher, 2003). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: California Critical Thinking Skills Test (College)