Can Case Studies Be Used to Teach Critical Thinking?

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This brief article from Journal of College Science Teaching presents an argument in favor of using "interrupted case studies" in teaching science to undergraduates. Such case studies, the author writes, help students develop critical thinking skills and present science as the messy, incomplete, and creative process that it is for those who do research. The author, Clyde Freeman Herreid, directs the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and is a distinguished professor of biological sciences.

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This activity introduces students to experimental design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of findings. Students gather data on people's sensitivity to touch. This task works especially well as a warm-up in the first meeting of a small class.