Critical thinking exercises for chemists: Are they subject-specific?

John Garratt, Tina Overton, Jane Tomlinson, Doug Clow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Important thinking skills for professional chemists include ‘analysing and evaluating arguments’,‘making judgements’, ‘retrieving information’ and ‘experimenting’. A considerable literature provides evidence that these skills can be learned (and therefore taught).We have devised specific exercises to help students to develop these skills. Our exercises are grounded in chemistry and designed to be addressed by students working in groups in a classroom environment (sometimes in a computer classroom). The type of exercise and the classroom environment promote vigorous discussion which involves critical thinking and leads to effective learning. This article describes the exercises and argues that, while the specific examples are subject-specific, the approach used with all the types of exercise could be adapted to create subject-specific exercises for any discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-167
Number of pages16
JournalActive Learning in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • critical thinking
  • designing investigations
  • evaluating arguments
  • group discussions
  • making judgements
  • skill development

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