You are on page 1of 5

Available online at www.sciencedirect.

com

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 47 (2012) 1719 1723

CY-ICER 2012

A study on the relationship of thinking styles of students and their


critical thinking skills
Ali Abdi*
Department of Educational Sciences Azad University of kermanshah branch, IRAN
Department of Educational Sciences Payame noor University , PO BOX 19395-3697 Tehran, IRAN

Abstract

This study was done to investigate the relationship between thinking styles and critical thinking skills among university
students. Participants in this study were 207 students who were selected via multi-stage cluster sampling. Sternberg and
wagners thinking styles inventory (1992) was used for assessing students thinking styles and their critical thinking skills
were assessed by California critical thinking skills Test B form (Facione & Facione, 1992, 1998). The results indicated that
there was a significance relationship between thinking styles and critical thinking skills and the level of significance was
0.95. That means students thinking styles have the ability to predict their critical thinking skills. There was also a positive
and meaningful correlation between executive thinking style and the total scores of critical thinking skills. However, there
were no a significance relationship between Executive thinking style with evaluation and analysis components of critical
thinking skills. The correlations between judicial thinking style and all aspects of critical thinking were significant. The
results also showed that there ware meaningful correlations between legislative thinking style with the total scores of critical
thinking skills. However, there was no a significance relationship between legislative thinking style and evaluation
component of critical thinking skills.
2012
2012 Published
Published by
by Elsevier
ElsevierLtd.
Ltd.Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hseyin Uzunboylu
Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.
Keywords: thinking styles, critical thinking skills

1. Introduction

The basic characteristic of human being is the ability of thinking. Thinking is defined in the intransitive sense as a
process to exercise the powers of judgment, conception, or inference (Miriam Webster, 2006). One of the
important thinking abilities that should be acquired by learners in school and university is the ability of a critical
thinking. In other hands, students ability to think critically has become a major concern among educators and
psychologists, as they try to study the factors influencing the acquisition of thinking skills. According to Ennis
(1987), critical thinking is "reasonable and reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do" and he
details numerous proficiencies, tendencies, and dispositions that constitute such reasonable reflective thinking.
Nickerson et al. (1985, 58) defined the term as figuring out what to believe, in a variety of contexts, in a rational

* Corresponding Ali Abdi. Tel.: +98-831-726-4427


E-mail address: ali_abdi2004@yahoo.com

1877-0428 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hseyin Uzunboylu
Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.889
1720 Ali Abdi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 47 (2012) 1719 1723

way that requires the ability to judge the plausibility of specific assertions, to weigh evidence, to assess the logical
soundness of inferences, to construct counter arguments and alternative hypotheses. Characteristics of critical
thinking include the ability to reason, deduce, and induce based upon current research and practice findings (Conger
& Mezza, 1996).

styles into account. Thinking styles are defined as our pre-ferred ways of using the abilities that we have. In
managing our activities, we choose styles with which we feel comfortable (Sternberg, 1988, 1997). Sternberg
contended that styles are thought to be distinct from abilities, and involve preferences, not necessarily conscious, in
the use of whatever abilities one has. Styles are not connected solely with ability, but rather, pre-ferred ways of
expressing or using one or more abilities (Armstrong, 2000; Cano-Garcia & Hughes, 2000; Sternberg, 1997; Zhang
& Sternberg, 1998; 2000). According to Sternberg, there are 13 thinking styles which fall along 5 dimensions: (1)
functions (including the legislative, executive, and judicial styles), (2) forms (hierarchical, monarchic, oligarchic,
and anarchic styles), (3) levels (global and local styles), (4) scopes (internal and external styles), and (5) leanings
(liberal and conservative styles). These 13 styles have been reconceptualized into three types based on empirical
data (e.g., Zhang & Sternberg, 2005).
It is widely recognized that investigation the relationship between thinking styles and critical thinking skills can be
beneficial for the individual student, teachers, curriculum designers and society (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995, zhang,
2003). Identifying such relationships can provide instructors and authorities with useful information so that they can
apply appropriate methods, based on student's individual differences, in order for them to be able to develop critical
thinking in students. A number of research studies have supported meaningful relationships between thinking styles
and critical thinking (zangh, 2003, Ching and Chaun, 2004). Given that thinking styles may well play such an
important part in critical thinking, and that critical thinking is one of the important missions of higher education, the
relationship among them needs to be investigated. With this background, the overall aim of the present study is to
examine relationships between thinking styles and critical thinking skills on university students.

2. Methodology

The participants of this study consisted of 207 undergraduate students in higher education in Azad university of
Kermanshah in Iran in the academic year (2009-2010) who were selected by clustered sampling. The participants
responded to two inventories:
1. Thinking Styles Inventory
thinking styles including the legislative, executive, and judicial styles. Generally, in the present study the
and for Thinking Styles total
questionnaire was .78.
2. California critical thinking skills test form B: This test is designed as a standardized instrument for evaluating
basic skills of critical thinking in high school and higher education levels (Facione & Facione, 1992, 1998). This test
consists of 34 multiple-choice items which evaluate three levels: analysis, inference, and argument evaluation and
has a limitation to answer the questions. analysis), .72
(inference), .76 (evaluation), and .85 for the whole test. Data were analyzed using SPSS 16.0 statistical analysis
program. Correlation and regression analyses were carried out to find the relationships between variables.
Ali Abdi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 47 (2012) 1719 1723 1721

3. Research Findings

Table 1, regression test for relationship between thinking styles and critical thinking
Variables R R Squared Adjusted R Squared
thinking styles 0.47 0.215 0.204
and critical thinking

the above table shows that correlation value of three thinking styles with critical thinking skills is 0.45 and R
squared is 0.215 and adjusted squared is 0.204 which means that 0.204 of changes in critical thinking skills is
determined by these variables.

Table 2, variance analysis test for regression significance


source Sum of Squares df Mean Square f Sig.
regression 3637/504 3 1212/6 18/55 0.0001
residual 13256/6 203 65/348
total 16903/118 206

The results of variance analysis deals with significance of regression model which shows the significance of this
model. F(3,203)= 18.55, P< 0.0001.

Table3. Regression coefficients for thinking styles and critical thinking


Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients

t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 6.401 3.680 -1.79
judicial 0.382 0.079 0.353 5.255 .0001
executive -0.04 0.060 -0.045 -0.060 0.51
legislative 0.29 0.058 0.255 3.630 0.001

Table 3 examines regression coefficient. The results show that thinking styles (judicial, executive, legislative)
variable can predict critical thinking skills.

Table4. Pearson Correlation coefficients for Executive thinking style and critical thinking skills
Variable N Pearson value sig
Executive thinking style- critical thinking skills 207 0.14 0.014

Executive thinking style- evaluation 207 0.015 0.81

Executive thinking style- analysis 207 0.11 0.128

Executive thinking style- inference 207 0.16 0.024

The above table deals with the relationship between Executive thinking style and critical thinking skills and its
components. Results show that there is a significant relationship between Executive thinking style and critical
ues is 0.14 which positive and significant at 0.05 level. It means that if one increases,
the other will increase too, and vice versa. The results also indicate that there is a significant relationship between
1722 Ali Abdi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 47 (2012) 1719 1723

Executive thinking style and inference in which Pearson


However there is no a significance relationship between Executive thinking style and evaluation and analysis
components of critical thinking skills. ely.

Table5. Pearson Correlation coefficients for judicial thinking style and critical thinking skills
Variable N Pearson value sig
judicial thinking style- critical thinking skills 207 0.40 0.0001

judicial thinking style- evaluation 207 0.25 0.0001

judicial thinking style- analysis 207 0.27 0.001

judicial thinking style- inference 207 0.29 0.001

The above table shows that there is a significant relationship between judicial thinking style and critical thinking
skills.
will increase too, and vice versa. There is a significance relationship between judicial thinking style and components
of critical thinking skills (evaluation, analysis and inference).
which are positive and significant at 0.01 levels.

Table6. Pearson Correlation coefficients for legislative thinking style and critical thinking skills
Variable N Pearson value sig
legislative thinking style- critical thinking skills 207 0.32 0.001

legislative thinking style- evaluation 207 -0.038 0.51

legislative thinking style- analysis 207 0.42 0.001

legislative thinking style- inference 207 0.34 0.0001

As it is seen in the above table, legislative thinking style has a significant relationship with the total scores of critical

are 0.32 (legislative thinking style and critical thinking skills), 0.42(legislative thinking style and analysis) and 0.34
(legislative thinking style and inference). The results of the table also indicate that there is no significant relationship
between legi -0.038 and has a significant level of
0.51.

4. Conclusion
In this study the relationship between thinking styles and critical thinking skills of University Students was
investigated. The results of regression analysis indicated that critical thinking skills were significantly predicated by
particular thinking styles. For example we relate the significant relationships of the judicial and legislative thinking
styles to the analyticity thinking skill. People with the judicial thinking style tend to be engaged in evaluative and
analytical types of tasks. The results of the present study support existing studies that have shown significant
relationships between thinking styles and critical thinking skills (zhang, 2003; Ching and Chaun, 2004; Mcdade,
2000). The importance of the finding about the relationships between thinking styles and critical thinking skills lies
not only in its contribution to the literature but also in its significant implications for education at the level of
instruction and assessment as well as at the level of curriculum development and non-academic program
development. Because thinking styles contribute to critical thinking skills, teaching that takes thinking styles into
full account can lead to the development of critical thinking skills.
Ali Abdi / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 47 (2012) 1719 1723 1723

References

Armstrong, S. J. (2000). The influence of individual cognitive style on performance in management education. Educational Psychology, 20, 323-
339

Cano-Garcia,F., & Hughes, E.H. (2000). Learning and thinking styles: An analysis of their interrelationship and influence on academic
achievement. Educational Psychology, 20 (4), 413-430.

Ching, Y, S ., Chaun, L, W. (2004) The Relationship among Creative, Critical Thinking and Thinking Styles in Taiwan High School Students.
Journal of Instructional Psychology, v31 n1 p33-45

Conger, M. M., & Mezza, I. (1996). Fostering critical thinking in nursing students in the clinical setting. Nurse Educator, 21(3), 11-15.
Faccione, P. (1998) "Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts", California Academic Press

Mcdade, D. C. (2000). Relationships between learning styles and critical thinking ability among health professional students. Dissertation
Abstracts International: Humanities and Social Sciences, 61 (6A), 2212.

Nickerson, R. S., Perkins, D. N. & Smith, E. E. (1985). The teaching of thinking. New Jersey: Lawrence Elbaum Associates.
Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Thinking styles. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Zhang, L.F. (2003). Contributions of Thinking Styles to Critical Thinking .Journal of Psychology;, Vol. 137 Issue 6, Dispositions.

Zhang, L. F. & Sternberg, R. J. (2000). Are learning approaches and thinking styles related? A study in two Chinese populations. The Journal of
Psychology, 134, 469-489.

Zhang, L. F. & Sternberg, R. J (1998). Thinking styles, abilities, and academic achievement among Hong Kong university students. Educational
Research Journal, 13, 41 62.

Ennis, R. H. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J. B. Baron & R. J. Steinberg (Eds.) Teaching thinking skills:
Theory and practice (pp. 9-26) New York: Freeman.
Sternberg, R. J., & Wagner, R.K. (1992). Thinking styles inventory, Yale University.