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Research from The Center for Critical Thinking

Center for Critical Thinking - Sonoma State University
The Center conducts advanced research and disseminates information on critical thinking.

Each year it sponsors an annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform. It has worked with the College Board, the National Education Association, the U.S. Department of Education, as well as numerous colleges, universities, and school districts to facilitate the implementation of critical thinking instruction focused on intellectual standards.

Research in critical thinking demonstrates:
1.  that, for the most part, critical thinking is not presently being effectively taught at the high school, college and university levels, and yet
2.  it is possible to do so.

To assess students' understanding of critical thinking, we recommend use of the International Critical Thinking Test as well as the Critical Thinking Interview Profile for College Students. To assess faculty understanding of critical thinking and its importance to instruction, we recommend the Critical Thinking Interview Profile For Teachers and Faculty. By registering as a member of the community, you will have access to streaming video, which includes a sample student interview with Dr. Richard Paul and Rush Cosgrove.


For some sense of the breadth of research on critical thinking, see our regularly updating annotated compendium of published research citing our approach to critical thinking. 

Special thank you to Paula Frasier for her research on this project and for her meticulousness in compiling this data base (March 12, 2013).




Logic as Theory of Validation: An Essay in Philosophical Logic

by Dr. Richard Paul

Dissertation submitted to the University of California at Santa Barbara in partial fulfillment for the degree of Ph.D. in Philosophy

View Abstract - View Full Dissertation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


Critical Thinking in the Oxford Tutorial: A Call for an Explicit and Systematic Approach
by Rush Cosgrove
A research study focused on the extent to which the Oxford Tutorial promotes critical thinking

Critical Thinking Instruction in Selected Greater Los Angeles Area High Schools
by Paul Everett Thomas
A dissertation Submitted to the School of Education and Behavioral Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree Doctor of Education (May, 1999)

View Abstract - View Full Dissertation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)



Effect of a Model for Critical Thinking on Student Achievement in Primary Source Document Analysis

and Interpretation, Argumentative Reasoning, Critical Thinking Dispositions and History Content
in a Community College History Course

Abstract of the Study, conducted by Jenny Reed, in partial fulfillment for her dissertation (October 26, 1998)

View Abstract  -  View Full Dissertation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)



The Effect of Richard Paul's Universal Elements and Standards of Reasoning on Twelfth Grade Composition

A Research Proposal Presented to the Faculty Of the School
of Education Alliant International University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts in Education: Teaching

Study conducted by J. Stephen Scanlan, San Diego (2006)

View Abstract  -   View Full Dissertation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)



Study of 38 Public Universities and 28 Private Universities

To Determine Faculty Emphasis on Critical Thinking In Instruction

Principal Researchers: Dr. Richard Paul, Dr. Linda Elder, and Dr. Ted Bartell

View Abstract   -   View the full study



Substantive Critical Thinking as Developed by the Foundation for Critical Thinking Proves Effective in Raising SAT and ACT Test Scores at West Side High School:  Staff Development Program Utilizes Critical Thinking Instruction to Improve Student Performance on ACT and SAT Tests, and in Critical Reading, Writing and Math

Dr. John Crook, West Side High School Principal

View the Report


Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Fourth Grade Students Identified as Gifted and Talented

by Debra Connerly

Graceland University - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - December 2006

View the Report



The Loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia: Portaging Leadership Lessons with a Critical Thinking Model

by Rob Niewoehner, Ph.D. U.S. Navy

  U.S. Naval Academy -  Annapolis, MD - March 2009
View the Report



Law School Academic Support Professionals' Perceptions about Development of Students' Critical THinking

by Brett A. Brosseit, Ph.D.

  Ave Maria School of Law - Naples, FL - 2015
View the Dissertation