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ERIC Number: EJ819974
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1551-2169
Critical Thinking in Political Science: Evidence from the Introductory Comparative Politics Course
Olsen, Jonathan; Statham, Anne
Journal of Political Science Education, v1 n3 p323-344 Sep 2005
Political Science programs have long seen part of their mission as the cultivation of "critical thinking" among their undergraduates. But what exactly does critical thinking mean in our Political Science courses? Can we foster critical thinking in our classes and, if so, how? This article, based on a yearlong systematic study of an introductory Comparative Politics course undertaken as part of a university-wide "Critical Thinking Project," looks at these questions. In this article we consider how critical thinking can be defined, fostered and assessed in the introductory Comparative Politics course; the implications these may have for students' performance in other Political Science courses; and how students themselves view critical thinking. Our data suggests students define critical thinking broadly in accord with those definitions of teachers of Political Science, believe these skills were fostered in the introductory Comparative Politics course and are certain that they carry over into their academic experiences with upper-division Political Science courses and later life experiences more generally. Moreover, we argue here that the most important variable in fostering critical thinking skills in the introductory Comparative Politics course (and perhaps in all Political Science courses) is the development of students' ability to think as social scientists do and the opportunity to apply this thinking skill to concrete puzzles or problems from the real world of politics. (Contains 7 tables and 10 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin