Blackburn, J. J., & Robinson, J. S. (2016). Determining the effects of cognitive style, problem complexity, and hypothesis generation on the problem solving ability of school-based agricultural education students. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(2), 46-59. doi: 10.5032/jae.2016.02046
The purpose of this experimental study was to assess the effects of cognitive style, problem complexity, and hypothesis generation on the problem solving ability of school-based agricultural education students. Problem solving ability was defined as time to solution. Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Inventory was employed to assess students’ cognitive style as either more adaptive or more innovative. Students were assigned randomly, by cognitive style, to solve either a simple or complex problem in small gasoline engines. A three-way independent analysis of variance revealed that a statistically significant interaction effect between the independent variables did not exist. Additionally, the two-way interactions between cognitive style and problem complexity, and cognitive style and hypothesis generation were not statistically significant. A statistically significant interaction effect did exist, however, between problem complexity and hypothesis generation. A simple main effects test revealed the students who hypothesized their problem correctly were the most efficient at solving the problem. Future research should require students who generate an initial incorrect hypothesis to re-hypothesize prior to attempting to solve the problem. Educators should encourage students to engage in metacognitive activities, such as hypothesizing, prior to engaging in problem solving activities.