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Home Journal Index 2023-1

Enhancing the Critical Analysis Skills in Writing a Literature Review: An Application of Bloom's Taxonomy for Students in Higher Education

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Somi Shin
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Asia, Singapore

University students often write a literature review as a standalone assignment, or part of research papers to fulfill the course requirements. To write a good literature review, students must be able to apply critical thinking in every step of the way. The most challenging part in literature review for many students, from my observation, is the evaluation of the articles for their strengths and weaknesses. This is a critical step in literature review, as students should be able to identify gaps in the past studies and find the direction and contribution of their own papers, based on the evaluation. The objective of this study is to test if the critical thinking skills of students in higher education improved throughout a course by examining the literature review assignments submitted to fulfil the course requirement. I discuss how I introduce the concept of critical thinking in the process of writing literature review for undergraduate students at a private university in Singapore. The students attended the Introduction to Research Methods course, where they write a proposal for quantitative research, which includes a literature review section. I evaluate the effectiveness of the classroom activities designed to enhance critical thinking skills, by comparing the draft literature review with the final version. 144 students attended the course over approximately two years and worked in groups of two to seven. In total, 31 student groups submitted 62 literature reviews. To decide the level of critical thinking demonstrated in the literature review, I use Bloom’s Taxonomy. The results from t test, Wilcoxan-signed-rank test and ANOVA show that critical thinking skills in the final version improved by approximately two Taxonomy levels, compared with the draft.

Literature review, critical thinking, writing skills, research methods, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Singapore