Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD, Director; William P. Foster, EdD; Wallace Cohen, EdD


Associate Degree in Nursing, California, community colleges, critical thinking, education, faculty, higher education, nursing, nursing program, survey, teaching strategies


This study explicated critical thinking teaching strategies being utilized by California Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) faculty, and their perceived effectiveness, to serve as a model for faculties in nursing and other disciplines. Questions addressed by the study included not only teaching strategies in use and their perceived effectiveness, but also exploration of common threads among nursing educators in their definitions of critical thinking, and common themes of "especially effective" techniques. The study involved a pilot of the survey instrument, utilizing one sample school's nursing faculty, with subsequent distribution to all 69 other ADN program senior nursing course lead faculty. The instrument included demographic school and personal faculty data; closed-form, Likert-scale questions on critical thinking teaching strategies and their perceived effectiveness; and an open-form question requesting a narrative description of an "especially effective" teaching strategy that had been implemented. Respondents were also asked to articulate a definition of critical thinking. A 70% return rate was obtained, utilizing follow-up letters and phone calls. The typical respondent was female, 41 to 50 years of age, with 11 to 20 years of experience in teaching nursing. Study results showed that a common definition of critical thinking did not exist among sample respondents, although five major threads could be identified. Respondents defined the concept of critical thinking through one or more of the following lenses: (1) problem-solving (nursing process); (2) Bloom's taxonomy of higher-order thinking skills; (3) reasoning (or informal logic); (4) reflection, imagining alternatives, challenging beliefs, and creativity; and (5) thinking about thinking, interpreting meaning, and metacognition. Critical thinking teaching strategies used most often, and perceived as very effective by faculty, included brainstorming, use of case studies, class or small group discussion, inductive reasoning techniques, scenarios or role play, written reports, self-study exercises, and teacher role modeling. Narrative descriptions from respondents' teaching experience fell generally into the categories of case studies, class or small group discussion, scenarios or role play, written reports, inductive reasoning techniques, brainstorming, and panel discussions. The dominant theme that emerged from the data was the use of case studies. Study results display 22 exemplars of actual teaching strategies that have been implemented by nurse educator respondents, including their commentaries. Discussion and implications of research findings and recommendations for further study are provided.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access