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The use of critical thinking and collaborative learning enhances the research process by establishing a disciplined yet supportive research and publication procedure. In addition, these methods provide common assumptions about the validity and reliability of research findings, while encouraging diverse points of view. Critical thinking helps students weigh evidence in determining its use in research; use logical and systematic thinking in developing a question at issue and answering it; explore connections between assumptions, points of view, and concepts; and develop criteria for assessing results. Collaborative learning provides a supportive environment for students to conduct research; offers a mediating audience for drafting and composing texts; improves the quality and quantity of thinking through continuous effort and feedback; and develops social skills in analysis, judgment, and criticism. Following a sequence of critical thinking exercises and writing activities, students in a college writing class were provided detailed guidelines for research projects summarizing critical thinking principles, describing the traditional term paper, and explaining the role of critical thinking in the research process. As a result, students were able to transform the term paper into a collaborative research project. Critical thinking and the research process itself became more intuitive and students learned that thinking can be both reflective and collaborative, moving them toward the ideal of critical inquiry. The class guidelines are included. Contains 11 references. (Author/BCY)

Descriptors: Class Activities, Cooperative Learning, Critical Thinking, Higher Education, Research Papers (Students), Student Research, Teaching Methods, Thinking Skills, Writing Assignments, Writing Instruction

Autor: Ochse, Roger


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