Volume 49 - Number 4 - 2008 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2008.04025
This study was conducted to examine the statistical relationship between problem solving and critical thinking to guide future teaching and research for agricultural educators using the problem-solving approach. Students enrolled in an undergraduate genetics course in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida were prompted to use their critical-thinking skills while answering a problem in the context of biotechnology. Students' critical-thinking skills were assessed through content analysis of a think-aloud protocol. Other cognitive factors assessed included problem-solving style, problem-solving level, and critical-thinking disposition. A path analysis was used to examine how these trait-based variables and use of critical-thinking skills contribute to solving a problem. Of these cognitive factors, only problem-solving level, critical-thinking disposition, and use of critical-thinking skills were included in the revised model. The authors argue that although correlations were significant, they were low and indicated that critical thinking and problem-solving may be more independent than previously thought. Limitations of this study require more research to better understand how these cognitive factors are employed by the learner to solve problems.