The knowledge and use of critical thinking teaching strategies of faculty in associate degree nursing education programs

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Janice R. Sandiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jo D. Gallagher

Third Advisor's Name

Kathleen Blais

Fourth Advisor's Name

Charmaine DeFrancesco

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and use of critical thinking teaching strategies by full-time and part-time faculty in Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs.

Sander's CTI (1992) instrument was adapted for this study and pilottested prior to the general administration to ADN faculty in Southeast Florida. This modified instrument, now termed the Burroughs Teaching Strategy Inventory (BTSI), returned reliability estimates (Cronbach alphas of .71, .74, and .82 for the three constructs) comparable to the original instrument. The BTSI was administered to 113 full-time and part-time nursing faculty in three community college nursing programs. The response rate was 92% for full-time faculty (n = 58) and 61 % for part-time faculty (n = 55).

The majority of participants supported a combined definition of critical thinking in nursing which represented a composite of thinking skills that included reflective thinking, assessing alternative viewpoints, and the use of problem-solving. Full-time and part-time faculty used different teaching strategies. Fulltime faculty most often used multiple-choice exams and lecture while part-time faculty most frequently used discussion within their classes. One possible explanation for specific strategy choices and differences might be that full-time faculty taught predominately in theory classes where certain strategies would be more appropriate and part-time faculty taught predominately clinical classes. Both faculty types selected written nursing care plans as the second most effective critical thinking strategy.

Faculty identified several strategies as being effective in teaching critical thinking. These strategies included discussion, case studies, higher order questioning, and concept analysis. These however, were not always the strategies that were used in either the classroom or clinical setting.

Based on this study, the author recommends that if the profession continues to stress critical thinking as a vital component of practice, nursing faculty should receive education in appropriate critical teaching strategies. Both in-service seminars and workshops could be used to further the knowledge and use of critical thinking strategies by faculty. Qualitative research should be done to determine why nursing faculty use self-selected teaching strategies.



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