Poster Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation II
Using Debate as a Method to Foster Critical Thinking in Nursing Doctoral Students
Anne Young, RN, EdD and Sandra K. Cesario, RNC, PhD. College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX, USA
Learning Objective #1: Describe the use of debate as a process to enhance critical thinking skills.
Learning Objective #2: Discuss a structured process for developing class debates.

While nursing literature on critical thinking often focuses on development of skills in undergraduate nursing students, this attribute needs enhanced in graduate students as well. In order to enhance the analysis and synthesis capabilities of nursing doctoral students, debate was introduced as a class activity. Debate provides a process in which students can engage in substantive discussion of significant issues in nursing.  The process requires analyzing the issue, developing a stance that must be substantiated through the use of logic.  It also provides a mechanism for developing communication skills.

 Eighteen students enrolled in the Exploring Scholarship class were divided into two teams.  While one debate topic was selected by faculty, the other was agreed on by students.  Following a three week interim in which students gathered relevant literature, teams were subdivided on debate day and given a brief opportunity to prepare for their selected role. Positions included the affirmative side, negative side, and a panel of judges who were responsible for posing questions to the teams and deciding the debate outcome. A specific protocol was followed for the debates which lasted for 1 hour.

 The debate process proved quite successful.  Course evaluation indicated that students valued the process.  Faculty indicated that debate provided an additional opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills that would facilitate success in the preliminary examination process that would be completed in the near future. Debate provided a creative outlet for students to address contemporary nursing issues, to practice developing logical arguments for supporting substantive positions, and to develop confidence in their ability to think on their feet.  Based on feedback, modifications were made to the debate process and the revised debate process was successfully used the following year.