Motivations for Continued Use of Critical Thinking Skills among First-Year Seminar Graduates




critical thinking, motivation, first-year undergraduate students, educational psychology


Many first-year seminar courses, as well as other programs aimed at first-year undergraduate students, actively incorporate critical thinking into the curriculum. What factors motivate students who purposefully develop these critical thinking skills to continue using them during subsequent semesters? This article discusses results of a study on this topic. Twenty-four students participated in a study approximately one semester after completing a first-year seminar at their university. The study uses mixed methods to (a) discuss students’ self-reported responses regarding nine potential motivating factors for continuing use of critical thinking skills, (b) examine correlations with critical thinking performance on a writing sample, and (c) briefly compare students’ self-reported motivating factors for continued use of critical thinking skills with parallel self-reported motivating factors for continued use of information literacy skills. The article ends with recommendations for applying the findings in the undergraduate classroom.


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Author Biography

Karen Sobel, University of Colorado Denver

Karen Sobel is an associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver. She serves as a Research & Instruction Librarian, and also serves as an instructor and a steering comittee member for the university's First-Year Experience program.


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How to Cite

Sobel, Karen. 2021. “Motivations for Continued Use of Critical Thinking Skills Among First-Year Seminar Graduates”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2).