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Abstract

Deliberative discussion is a teaching method that invites nursing students to engage in a shared inquiry regarding public issues. The purpose of this pretest-posttest control group experimental study was to investigate the effects of using the deliberative discussion method to enhance the critical thinking abilities of first year nursing students. Forty four students were randomly assigned to attend three deliberative discussion sessions over a 13 week period or to the control group. Using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, no statistically significant differences were found in critical thinking scores between the two groups. The level and depth of students’ critical thinking abilities during the discussions did not increase from session one to session three. The authors of this study suggest that participation in deliberative discussions may not produce an immediate effect on critical thinking and possible long term benefits are not known. Further considerations include having more exposures to the deliberative method and having opportunities to critically reflect after the discussions.

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