Integrating direct and inquiry-based instruction in the teaching of critical thinking: an intervention study

Kelly Y. L. Ku*, Irene T. Ho, Kit-Tai Hau, Eva C.M. Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Critical thinking is a unifying goal of modern education. While past research has mostly examined the efficacy of a single instructional approach to teaching critical thinking, recent literature has begun discussing mixed teaching approaches. The present study examines three modes of instruction, featuring the direct instruction approach and the inquiry-based approach in different sequences and proportions, in enhancing Chinese secondary student’s critical thinking performance. A total of 651 Grade 12 students participated in an 18-hour intervention with pre- and post-intervention measures on critical thinking performance and critical thinking dispositions. Specifically, critical thinking assessments utilizing different response format were used. Those who received training showed greater improvement on at least one of the critical thinking assessments compared to those who received no training. Participants’ performances with regards to different critical thinking assessments are discussed. Benefits of adopting more than one instructional approach to teaching critical thinking are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-269
Number of pages19
JournalInstructional Science
Issue number2
Early online date16 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Critical thinking
  • Direct instruction
  • Higher education
  • Inquiry-based instruction
  • Instructional strategy


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