Examining Graduate Dissertations in the Field of Critical Thinking: A Case from Turkey

1This study was presented at the 2nd Eurasian Educational Research Congress in Ankara.
2Hacettepe University.
3Hacettepe University.
4Hacettepe University.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2017.67.9


Purpose: The aim of this study is to conduct content analyses of graduate dissertations about critical thinking skills in the field of educational sciences in Turkey and to document general trends in dissertations.

Research Methods: This study is constructed using qualitative research methods and techniques. A document review was used to gather data in the study. One hundred eighty-six dissertations, available from the National Dissertations Center in the Higher Education Council, have been analyzed in terms of various variables.

Findings: Depending on the gathered data, it is clear that critical thinking has been studied since 1999 and a majority of the dissertations have been written for a master’s degree. It is also revealed that descriptive research has been more favored than experimental research. Studies have been primarily conducted through quantitative data gathering methods. The dissertations have mainly been written by undergraduate students using primarily data collection tools consisting of scales.

Implications for Research and Practice: This study reveals which theses were studied in Turkey mostly in terms of research methods, sample/study group characteristics, data collection tools, and subject areas concerning critical thinking. Therefore, new research about critical thinking should focus on experimental designs and in-depth analyses of critical thinking through qualitative methods.

Keywords: Higher order thinking skills master’s thesis doctoral thesis document review content analysis.