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Improved critical thinking in students using current events journaling

Sahar Bahmani (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin at Parkside, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 11 April 2016




When students relate current events to the concepts studied in the classroom by writing and presenting a series of analyses in the form of regular journaling, their learning and critical thinking improves as they regularly connect theory, presented in the lessons and textbooks, to real-world applications. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


A rubric used to assess the progress of student critical thinking showed that all three categories that display critical thinking through reflective reasoning improved: analysis, comprehension and application.


This paper establishes the positive impact of current event journaling on critical thinking and student interest in courses by monitoring courses where current event journaling was incorporated. One of the key findings of this study is that the critical thinking skills of students evolved and became more advanced as the semester progressed, as did their ability to identify links in research and studies to class content.

Research limitations/implications

As students become more engaged, this helps them to better absorb and understand the material being taught.

Practical implications

Completing these analyses and presenting them to the class helps students succeed in seeing the connection between theory presented in textbooks and its real-world applications.

Social implications

Another important result is that by incorporating regular current event analyses and presentations, students grow more interested in the course itself.


Critical thinking falls into three different categories that can be displayed as reflective reasoning: analysis, comprehension and application.



The author would like to thank Stephanie Nistler, who served as student research assistant during this project and is an economics major at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside.


Bahmani, S. (2016), "Improved critical thinking in students using current events journaling", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 36 No. 3/4, pp. 190-202.



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