A Model to Augment Critical Thinking and Create Knowledge through Writing in the Social Sciences of Agriculture
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The purpose of this study was to develop a model to augment critical thinking and create knowledge through writing in the social sciences of agriculture. Without a conceptual model or a blue-print of writing in the social sciences of agriculture, teaching writing is hard. This study was divided into three phases, and each phase was reported and analyzed using independent research methods. Not only were the data reported as separate sets of findings, but also the data from each phase of the study were synthesized and reported as a mixed-methods study, which was a model to augment critical thinking and create knowledge through writing in the social sciences of agriculture. Five methods were used to collect the data: qualitative theory evaluation, qualitative interviews, qualitative focus groups, Q-sort interviews, and modeling methods. Using the qualitative theory evaluation, the researcher found three prominent theories and seven conceptual models of writing. Each writing theory and conceptual model brought a unique perspective to writing research. In conclusion, the social cognitive theory of writing was the most complete writing theory and the writing proficiency as a complex integrated skill conceptual model was the most complete. Qualitative interviews with eight faculty members in social sciences of agriculture revealed the writing factors that augment critical thinking and create knowledge. The researcher concluded that the ability to present and defend a topic to a variety of public audiences; opportunities for writing repetition; and rich, timely feedback were the writing factors faculty members believed augment critical thinking and create knowledge. The focus group interviews with 15 students in social sciences of agriculture revealed the characteristics of strong writers. The researcher concluded that adapting prose to fit the audience, applying writing to real-world scenarios, developing a strong argument, having a specific voice, and understanding grammar and mechanics should be used to help students develop writing skills. The data from the review of literature, the qualitative interviews, and the qualitative focus groups were used to develop the Q-sort interview statements. Q-sort interviews with four students, three faculty members, and three administrators revealed three factors that define writing in the social sciences of agriculture. The researcher concluded that writing in college courses can be categorized into three categories: writing as a process, writing as an application and a development of thought, and writing as an advanced skill guided by complex reasoning. The data from the first four studies were collapsed to identify the writing factors that augment critical thinking and create knowledge in the social sciences of agriculture. From this data, the researcher developed the model to augment critical thinking and create knowledge through writing in the social sciences of agriculture. Additionally, the researcher concluded there are 12 writing factors that augment critical thinking and create knowledge in the social sciences of agriculture (e.g., using real-world scenarios; researching and understanding how ideas are connected; and presenting and defending agricultural topics to a variety of public audiences).
Leggette, Holli RaNae (2013). A Model to Augment Critical Thinking and Create Knowledge through Writing in the Social Sciences of Agriculture. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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