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J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2013 Dec 2;14(2):166-75. doi: 10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.506. eCollection 2013.

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

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Biology Department, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597.


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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