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The CREATE Method Does Not Result in Greater Gains in Critical Thinking than a More Traditional Method of Analyzing the Primary Literature

    Authors: Miriam Segura-Totten1,*, Nancy E. Dalman1
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    Affiliations: 1: Biology Department, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: University of North Georgia, Biology Department, 82 College Circle, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Phone: 706-867-2951. Fax: 706-867-2703. E-mail: [email protected].
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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    Abstract:

    Analysis of the primary literature in the undergraduate curriculum is associated with gains in student learning. In particular, the CREATE (Consider, Read, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment) method is associated with an increase in student critical thinking skills. We adapted the CREATE method within a required cell biology class and compared the learning gains of students using CREATE to those of students involved in less structured literature discussions. We found that while both sets of students had gains in critical thinking, students who used the CREATE method did not show significant improvement over students engaged in a more traditional method for dissecting the literature. Students also reported similar learning gains for both literature discussion methods. Our study suggests that, at least in our educational context, the CREATE method does not lead to higher learning gains than a less structured way of reading primary literature.

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2013-12-02
2019-04-26

Abstract:

Analysis of the primary literature in the undergraduate curriculum is associated with gains in student learning. In particular, the CREATE (Consider, Read, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment) method is associated with an increase in student critical thinking skills. We adapted the CREATE method within a required cell biology class and compared the learning gains of students using CREATE to those of students involved in less structured literature discussions. We found that while both sets of students had gains in critical thinking, students who used the CREATE method did not show significant improvement over students engaged in a more traditional method for dissecting the literature. Students also reported similar learning gains for both literature discussion methods. Our study suggests that, at least in our educational context, the CREATE method does not lead to higher learning gains than a less structured way of reading primary literature.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1.

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FIGURE 1.

Comparison of mean performance in the article critique assignment for students in the CREATE and traditional groups. Light grey bars represent student pretest score and dark grey bars represent student posttest score. Error bars represent the standard error of the mean (SEM). CREATE, n = 41; Traditional, n = 43.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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Image of FIGURE 2.

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FIGURE 2.

Student performance at the analysis, synthesis and evaluation levels within the article critique exercise. Light grey bars represent student pretest score and dark grey bars represent student posttest score. Error bars represent the standard error of the mean (SEM). CREATE, n = 41; Traditional, n = 43.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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Image of FIGURE 3.

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FIGURE 3.

Comparison of mean performance in exam questions for students in the CREATE and traditional groups. Light grey bars represent student pretest score and dark grey bars represent student posttest score. Error bars represent the standard error of the mean (SEM). CREATE, n = 44; Traditional, n = 41.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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Image of FIGURE 4.

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FIGURE 4.

Student feelings towards the course. Students were asked to comment on their current level of interest in cell biology (Current interest) and their change in interest in the subject matter since the beginning of the semester (Change in interest). For “Current interest,” dark grey bars denote students whose answer depicted a positive interest in the subject, light grey bars denote students who had neutral feelings towards the subject, and black bars signify students who felt negatively towards cell biology. For “Change in interest,” dark grey bars denote students whose interest increased, light grey bars signify no change in interest, and black bars denote a decrease in interest. CREATE, n = 21; Traditional, n = 24.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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Image of FIGURE 5.

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FIGURE 5.

Students’ perceived gains. We asked students to comment on their present level of interest in the subject, how the class heightened or dampened their interest, how they felt the material in the course integrates with their studies, career, and/or life, and what they could do at the end of the course that they could not do at the beginning (“Present level of interest,” “Change in interest,” “Integration of material,” and “Skills gained,” respectively). We coded student answers for the particular themes they contained: scientific literacy (blue), confidence (orange), nature of science (purple), transfer of critical thinking skills (i.e., application of CT in contexts outside the class; green), and critical thinking (red), and we graphed the number of students who mentioned a particular theme. CREATE, n = 21; Traditional, n = 24.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506
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