Critical Thinking, Clinical reasoning, clinical decision making, problem solving, radiologic science, radiography, teaching strategies, assessment measures, JRCERT outcomes


The purpose of this study was primarily to explore the conceptualization of critical thinking development in radiologic science students by radiography program directors. Seven research questions framed three overriding themes including 1) perceived definition of and skills associated with critical thinking; 2) effectiveness and utilization of teaching strategies for the development of critical thinking; and 3) appropriateness and utilization of specific assessment measures for documenting critical thinking development. The population for this study included program directors for all JRCERT accredited radiography programs in the United States. Questionnaires were distributed via Survey Monkey©, a commercial on-line survey tool to 620 programs. A forty-seven percent (n = 295) response rate was achieved and included good representation from each of the three recognized program levels (AS, BS and certificate). Statistical analyses performed on the collected data included descriptive analyses (median, mean and standard deviation) to ascertain overall perceptions of the definition of critical thinking; levels of agreement regarding the effectiveness of listed teaching strategies and assessment measures; and the degree of utilization of the same teaching strategies and assessment measures. Chi squared analyses were conducted to identify differences within each of these themes between various program levels and/or between program directors with various levels of educational preparation as defined by the highest degree earned. Results showed that program directors had a broad and somewhat ambiguous perception of the definition of critical thinking, which included many related cognitive processes that were not always classified as attributes of critical thinking according to the literature, but were consistent with definitions and attributes identified as critical thinking by other allied health professions. These common attributes included creative thinking, decision making, problem solving and clinical reasoning as well as other high-order thinking activities such as reflection, judging and reasoning deductively and inductively. Statistically significant differences were identified for some items based on program level and for one item based on program director highest degree. There was general agreement regarding the appropriateness of specific teaching strategies also supported by the literature with the exception of on-line discussions and portfolios. The most highly used teaching strategies reported were not completely congruent with the literature and included traditional lectures with in-class discussions and high-order multiple choice test items. Significant differences between program levels were identified for only two items. The most highly used assessment measures included clinical competency results, employer surveys, image critique performance, specific course assignments, student surveys and ARRT exam results. Only one variable showed significant differences between programs at various academic levels.


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Graduation Date



Biraimah, Karen


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational and Human Sciences

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Education Commons