We are excited to announce that our research study, “Fostering Critical Thinking, Reasoning, and Argumentation Skills through Bioethics Education,” has been published in the journal PLoS ONE. Our study focused on the impacts of providing structured frameworks for case study analysis and for justification. The results support what we have long observed – when students learn strategies for ethical reasoning, they grow significantly in their ability to develop strong arguments for their positions.
In order to assess the acquisition of higher-order justification skills taught in our Bioethics 101 curriculum, students were asked to analyze a case study and develop a well-reasoned written position. We evaluated statements using a scoring rubric and found highly significant differences (p<0.001) between students exposed to the curriculum strategies and those who were not. Students also showed highly significant gains (p<0.001) in self-reported interest in science content, ability to analyze socio-scientific issues, awareness of ethical issues, ability to listen to and discuss viewpoints different from their own, and understanding of the relationship between science and society. Our results demonstrate that incorporating ethical dilemmas into the classroom is one strategy for increasing student motivation and engagement with science content, while promoting reasoning and justification skills that help prepare an informed citizenry.
The “Collaborations to Understand Research and Ethics” (CURE) program was supported by a Science Education Partnership Award grant (http://ncrrsepa.org) from the National Center for Research Resources and the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives of the National Institutes of Health through Grant Number R25OD011138. The funders had no role in study design, data