The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2010, Vol.



A Measure for Scientific Thinking
Carlo Magno

De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
The present study further explains the nature of scientific thinking by exploring and confirming its factors. Scientific thinking is defined as the thought processes that are used in science, including the cognitive processes involved in theory generation, experiment design, hypothesis testing, data interpretation, and scientific discovery (Dunbar, 1997). A scale was constructed where the items reflect the potent characteristics of scientists as identified from previous research. A total of 240 items were initially constructed referring to characteristics of scientific thinking and it was administered to 528 college students taking a science course. The underlying factors of the 240 items were identified using a principal components analysis. Analysis of the scree plot showed that four factors can explain the total variance of 60.94%. The grouping of the items was reviewed and they were identified as practical inclination, analytical interest, intellectual independence, and discourse assertiveness. These new set of factors were administered to a similar sample (N=1839) and the factors were confirmed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The results showed that the four factors of scientific thinking significantly increase with each other. The model also had an adequate fit (RMS Standard Residual=.02, RMSEA=.06, PGI=.95, GFI=.95). These domains can serve as pillars of scientific thinking and the results closed the gap in the process of identifying further characteristics.

Keywords: Scientific thinking, practical inclination, analytical interest, intellectual
independence, and discourse assertiveness

Introduction Theories, technology, models, and solutions to problems are produced from the generated thoughts of scientists. The scientist as the person who works in the sciences posses characteristics that is at some extent more prominent than in other fields. The activities, processes, and traits exemplified by scientists are explained much by characterizing their thoughts or how they think. This concept is called scientific thinking. Scientific thinking involves systematically exploring the environment, constructing models as a basis for understanding the evidence of it, and revising those models as new evidence is generated. In this perspective, the scientist is like a child in the process of learning who endeavors to make sense of their environments by processing data and constructing mental models (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958; Kuhn, 1989). Likewise, Dunbar (1999) identified that scientific thinking involves “thought processes that are used in science including the cognitive process involved in theory generation, experiment design, hypothesis testing, data interpretation, and scientific discovery” (p. 730). Moreover, according to Gorman (2006), these activities engaged by scientists as mentioned must be measured as a set of traits and dispositions that have something to do with whether one becomes interested in science as a career or related careers that require scientific thinking (Gorman, 2008). There is a rich literature explaining the nature of scientific thinking as dispositions (i.e., Bachtold & Werner, 1972; Busse & Mansfield, 1984;
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Feist, 1998; Helmreich, Spence, & Pred, 1988; Van Zelst & Kerr, 1954). There is a need to study scientific thought in a psychological perspective (Feist, 2006). A psychological perspective in the study of scientific thought can (1) provide a model to understand and further explain expertise and exemplified skills, (2) derive processes that help educators develop students with potential scientific-related careers, (3) focus on skills that further strengthen the scientific thinking for practitioners in science, and (4) integrate other psychological variables to create theories to explain it. In the educational setting, there is a greater call to develop students who can think scientifically. This is usually carried out by training students with research skills (Feuer, Towner, & Shavelson, 2002; McGinn & Roth, 1999; Pine & Aschbacher, 2006). An education centered on building a scientific culture promotes better research. This culture also establishes the practice of openness, continuous reflection, and judgment. Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1989) described this approach as cognitive-apprenticeship models where students are enculturated into the practice of laboratory sciences. The present study involves the construction of the concept of “scientific thinking” derived from the conceptualizations of different authors [such as Kuhn (1989), Dunbar (1999), Rosser (1999), Feist, 2006, and others]. In order to facilitate building the construct of scientific thought, a measure was developed where the items reflect, represent, and exemplify the processes involved in scientific thinking based on cognitive, personality (disposition), social, and motivational perspectives. The identified domains of scientific thinking through an exploratory factor analysis were further confirmed in a measurement model to arrive at a final solution of a typology for the construct. To ensure the functionality of the items for each scientific thinking domain, the one-parameter partial credit Rasch model was used. Conceptualization of Scientific Thinking It is important to present first the different perspectives formed about scientific thinking. These perspectives provide the backbone of conceptualizing a construct for scientific thinking as a model. Scientific thinking was initially explained as a metaphor on how the child thinks and learns (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958). Towards the 1980’s this metaphor was still considered valid because of the body of research that demonstrated the similarity of scientific generation of thoughts and how the child process information (i.e., Brown & Kane, 1988; Carey, 1985). In this aspect, Karmiloff-Smith (1988) described the similarity in terms of the child spontaneously discover how the world works by building theories and not simply by observing facts like a scientist. Towards the end of this decade, Kuhn (1989) started to argue about the analogy made between scientific thinking and child learning. A point of argument includes the naïve type of thinking that occurs in a child which made it different with the way adults and scientists think. This difference was shown in Kuhn’s different studies engaging different age groups to respond to situation that would allow researchers to explain how they scientifically think (such as forming evidence, ability to generate alternative theories, and ability generate counterarguments). Kuhn (1989) explained the patterns of difference in terms of differentiation and coordination of theory and
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The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2010, Vol. 6(1)


evidence where at some point in time (during childhood), both theory and evidence are differentiated and lacks integration. This lack of integration eventually developed into a coordinated form or logical complement (occurs in most adults). The coordination of theory and evidence is described as a paramount of scientific thinking. The difference in the pattern of thinking from child to adult in the differentiation and coordination of theory and evidence is described as a developmental perspective. One implication of Kuhn’s findings show that scientific thinking as coordination between theory and evidence is most likely evident for adults specifically for the college sample. Kuhn further explained that the coordination between theory and practice develops along a continuum of metacognition. As an individual develops, their ability to be aware and take control of their own learning also improves. This developing awareness and control for one’s learning explains much the skills in generating and evaluating evidence and coordination with theory. The studies of Kuhn elaborate scientific thinking as reflected in the attainment of control over the interaction of theories and evidence in one's own thinking. The general skills that encompass scientific thinking therefore involve: “The scientist being able to consciously articulate a theory that he or she accepts, knows what evidence does and could support it, and what evidence does or would contradict it, and is able to justify why the coordination of available theories and evidence has led him or her to accept that theory and reject others purporting to account for the same phenomena” (p. 674). At the onset of the 1990’s different perspectives were proposed that further characterized scientific thinking as a construct. These perspectives organize different taxonomies of scientific thinking based on how it is studied. One classification in conceptualizing scientific thinking is explaining the approach taken by scientists in their work. Dunbar (1999) classified scientific thinking in terms of the experimental approach, computational approach, and real world investigations. The experimental approach is the orientation of scientific thinking that involves problem solving, hypothesis testing, and concept formation. The nature of the computational model in scientific thinking involves building computational models that is tested mathematically. The real world investigations explain how scientific thinking is studied based on the attitudes and characteristics reported by scientists. These three approaches explain how scientific thinking is focused and studied. This classification was further refined in the succeeding studies. These two approaches in looking at scientific thinking were further broken down to four ways (Dunbar & Fugelsang, 2005): (1) Ex vivo research, in which a scientist is taken out of her or his laboratory and investigated using in vitro tasks. (2) In silico research, involving computational simulation and modeling of the cognitive processes underlying scientific thinking, including a diversity of approaches and casestudies (Dasgupta, 1994; Magnani, Nersessian, & Thagard, 1999; Shrager & Langley, 1990). (3) Sub specie historiae research, focusing on detailed historical accounts of scientific and technological problem-solving (Gooding & Addis, 1993; Nersessian, 1984; Tweney, 1989; Tweney, Mears, & Spitzmuller, 2005). (4) In magnetico research, using techniques like MRI to study brain patterns during problem-solving, including potentially both in vitro and in vivo research (Dunbar & Fugelsang, 2005) (p. 113).
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Another approach in scientific thinking was proposed by Rosser (1999) where scientific thinking has typologies of domain-general thinking and domain specific thinking. Domain general thinking is the aspects of scientific thinking that “can be used in a variety of contexts including designing and conducting experiments, drawing inferences from data, and evaluating the validity of conclusions” (p.1000). This typology of scientific thinking involves strategies, heuristics, and methods that can be applied in different situations. On the other hand, the domain-specific thinking is the kind of thinking that occurs in ordinary situations and which overlaps or similar with scientific thinking. This kind of thinking operates when ordinary people arrives and uses their own theories. This form of thinking is also termed as naïve thinking given the case (Kuhn, 1989). Another classification involving scientific thinking is being an expert and novice. Scientific thinking is a construct exhibited by expert that is defined as someone who has spent many hours training or solving problems in a domain such as geology, dance, linguistics, or auto repair (Ericsson & Lehman, 1996). Further characterizations of experts are abstract thinking skills, problem-solving strategies, storage and recall of a wide array of information, and ability to work flexibly within a knowledge domain all exemplify what it means to be an expert (Bransford et al., 2000). The scientist as an expert generates complex cognitive tasks by analyzing underlying knowledge required by accurately interpreting concepts (Reif & Allen, 1992). These characteristics are exemplified in scientific thinking. In another perspective, the characteristics of scientists as they engage in producing their theories are described in scientific epistemology. Scientific epistemology is manifested in the creation of scientific knowledge, instrumentation, technical discourse, social relations, and visual displays used in scientific publications (Kirby, 2003). The theoretical beliefs of scientists would affect their evaluation and generation of evidence. The organizing influence of theoretical concepts on forms of cognition range from simple categorization to complex scientific thought (Alloy & Tabachnik, 1984; Fischhoff & Beyth-Marom, 1983; Holland et al., 1986; Murphy & Medin, 1985; Neisser, 1987). In another aspect, Liang, Lee, and Tsai (2010) explains that the nature of science and epistemological beliefs share commonalities. They pointed out that both are concerned with certainty and developmental process of scientific knowledge and the process of knowing science. In their study they conceptualized science epistemological beliefs as source (scientific knowledge resides in authorities), certainty (evaluating scientific belief as the right answer), development (scientific knowledge as evolving and changing), and justification (role of experiments). They found in their study that development and justification beliefs about science significantly increase the variance in deep motive and deep strategy as approach to learning. This means that the belief that science is evolving and its testability nature in experiments makes students engage in both deep motive strategy. The studies presented by Kirby (2003) and Liang, Lee and Tsai (2010) contributes to the manifestations of scientific thinking in the form of beliefs. Epistemological beliefs in science explain much how scientists direct their thinking about the nature and source of science. Other approaches in studying scientific thinking used personality and interest frameworks for identifying characteristics inclined for scientists (Feist, 2006). The “Big Five Factor Model” was translated for scientists and examined
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which traits have positive and negative poles (Costa & McCrae, 1995). Holland’s hexagonal model of vocational interest was also applied among scientists, engineers, and mathematicians and found specific map of traits that are geared in their orientations. Some studies compared scientists and non-scientists and found dominant characteristics of scientists like being extrovert, objective, mechanistic, and rational (Arthur, 2001; Conway, 1988; Costa, McCrae, & Holland, 1984; Hart, 1982; Johnson, Germer, Efran, & Overton, 1988; Simonton, 2000). Moreover, in a metanalysis conducted by Feist (1998), he categorized scientific thinking into three meaningful categories: Cognitive, motivational, and social. For the cognitive traits, they found that scientists were more open to experience, flexible in thought, and more creative. For the motivational aspect, scientists were more driven, ambitious, and intrinsically motivated. For the social aspect, scientists were more dominant, arrogant, hostile, self-confident, argumentative, and assertive. The Present Study Presently there is a host of scientific thinking characteristics that widely vary according to each study’s perspective (Bransford et al. 2000; Dunbar, 1999; Feist, 2006; Kirby, 2003; Rosser, 1999). The problem with some approaches is that the characteristics identified are not specific to scientific thinking (e. g., Feist, 2006). There is a need to make an explicit construction of the scientific thinking by identifying its own typology and measure. The present study created a measure for scientific thinking and the items reflect the different perspectives and frameworks presented. The factor structure of the scientific thinking was uncovered and this was further confirmed. Method Participants Two set of participants were used in the present study. For the initial sample, 528 college students were selected purposively from different universities in the National Capital Region in the Philippines. The inclusion criteria includes students who: (1) are currently in the proposal or data gathering phase of their thesis because this allows them to have experience of actual scientific method, (2) are working with their mentor in the study, (3) have written other research reports prior to their thesis, and (3) are majors in any courses in the social sciences (i.e., psychology, behavioral science, educational psychology, science education, etc.). This initial sample was used to identify the factors of scientific thinking. Another sample composed of 1839 college students was selected using the same selection criteria. This sample was used to confirm the factor structure produced from the initial analysis. The description of the sample for this set is very similar with the first. Instrument The items of scientific thinking were based on the characterization of the thought processes exemplified by scientist from the frameworks presented
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The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2010, Vol. 6(1)


(coordination of evidence and theory, metacognition, experimental approach, computational approach domain-general and domain specific thinking, expert and novice, science epistemology, cognitive, motivational and social aspects). The items are comprised of dispositions and the kind of thinking that happens in the idea generation and work of scientists. There were 240 items generated based on the descriptions of the frameworks identified. The items were reviewed by two experts in cognitive psychology and they determined whether the items are relevant. Relevance of an item is judged whether they are within the frameworks provided. Items that are rated by two reviewers as not relevant were removed or revised for clarity. A 4-point Lickert scale was used for each item (4=strongly agree, 3=agree, 2=disagree, 1=strongly disagree). Procedure The scale with 240 items was first pretested to 528 students who are currently doing their thesis. Examiners were trained how to administer the scale to ensure consistency of procedures across different administration. Students were instructed to answer as honestly as possible and there are no right and wrong answers. Principal components analysis was used for the initial data to uncover the factor structure of the scientific thinking. The number of factors was determined by examining the eigenvalues (higher than 1.0 in a scree plot). The items with factor loadings above .4 were accepted for the next form of the scale. The items were regrouped according to the factor where they highly load. The items in the previous analysis were again administered to another set of 1839 respondents (with similar characteristics as the first) and the factors structure was tested using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The CFA can show whether each factor is significant for the measured construct. The overall fit of the measurement model was also tested. Item analysis was conducted for each factor by the estimation of Rasch item and person fit scores. The Rasch model ensures that each factor is unidimensional and do not contain sources of variations. The software WINSTEPS was used for the Rasch model item analysis. The analysis can determine (a) if the difficulty levels of the items reflect the full range of respondents' trait levels, and (b) how well the 4point scale captures the distinctions between each category of agreement. This software package begins with provisional central estimates of item difficulty and person ability parameters, compares expected responses based on these estimates to the data, constructs new parameter estimates using maximum likelihood estimation, and then reiterates the analysis until the change between successive iterations is small enough to satisfy a preselected criterion value (Linacre, 2006). Although the estimates are called difficulty which refers to correct responses (such as ability measures), the Rasch model is applicable for non-cognitive measures where difficulty would refer to extreme low scores in a measure. Results A principal components analysis was initially conducted among 240 items of the scientific thinking scale. An examination of the scree plot showed that four
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The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2010, Vol. 6(1)


factors can be produced because the eigenvalues are close from the fourth factor to the fifth. The four factors extracted accounts for 60.94% of the total variance. The remaining factors extracted were not considered because the same total variances were produced and that were also low. The varimax rotation method was used because it accounts for larger factor loadings under each of the four factors extracted. The items with factor loadings below .40 were removed and 123 items were retained. The 123 items were classified under each of the new factor solution. The names of the factors were generated based on the common content of the items that loaded together. The first factor contain items reflecting the real world experience (Dunbar, 1999), domain specific thinking (Rosser, 1999), and scientific thinking as everyday thinking (Kuhn, 1989) and it was labeled as “practical inclination” with 24 items (e. g., “I can improvise tools to fix objects”). The second factor extracted contain items indicating strategies, heuristics, methods (Kuhn, 1989), computational approach (Dunbar, 1999), and justification science epistemology (Liang, Lee, & Tsai, 2010) used to generate scientific knowledge and this was labeled as “analytical interest” with 31 items (e. g., “I enjoy following stepby-step procedures in completing tasks.”). The third factor contain items that show expert thinking (Ericsson & Lehman, 1996), intrinsic motivation, autonomy (Feist, 2006), experimental approach (Dunbar, 1999), and certainty science epistemic belief (Liang, Lee, & Tsai, 2010) which was labeled as “intellectual independence” with 35 items (e. g., “I do not let others influence me in my work without hard evidence”). The last factor was dominated by items about the social aspect of scientific thinking as proposed by Feist (2006). The items are about being dominant, arrogant, hostile, self-confident, argumentative, and assertive. This factor was named as “discourse assertiveness” with 33 items (e. g., “I engage when someone argues with me”). The four factors of the scientific thinking scale were confirmed in another sample (N=1839) with similar characteristics as the first set. To prove the evidence of a four factor solution, it should show a better fit as compared to a one-factor model, two-factor model, or a three-factor model by comparing its fit indices. In a one factor model, one latent variable for scientific thinking was tested where all 123 items were used as indicators. In the two-factor model, practical inclination and analytical interest were combined in one latent variable (r=.89**) and intellectual independence and discourse assertiveness (r=.86**) in another. In the three factor model, discourse assertiveness is one latent variable, another for intellectual independence, and one for practical inclination and analytical interest together. The combination of factors was selected based on a zero-order correlation of the four factors (see Table 1). The last model tested is the four-factor model that was generated from the previous principal components analysis. The best fitting model is determined by comparing the fit indices of the models produced using change in chi-square (Δχ2), Root Means Square Standardized Residual (RMS), Root Mean Square Error Approximation (RMSEA), Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), Schwartz Bayesian Criterion (SBC), Browne-Cudeck Cross Validation (BCC). These indices should show low values to that indicates better fit.

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Table 1

Zero Order Correlation of the Four Factors of Scientific Thinking
Factors (1) Practical Inclination (2) Analytical Interest (3) Intellectual Independence (4) Discourse Assertiveness **p<.01 Table 2

3.04 2.99 3.06 3.06

0.62 0.62 0.61 0.61

(1) --.89** .88** .83**

(2) --.89** .81**



--.86** ---

Fit Indices of the Models tested
One-Factor Two-Factor Three-Factor Four-Factor

36365.73 33385.85 30240.92 28935.92

7378 7379 7377 7374

Δ χ2
2980.88** 3144.93** 1305**

1 2 3 .04 .04 .03 .03 .06 .06 .05 .04

20.53 18.43 16.72 16.01

20.79 19.17 17.42 16.77

20.07 18.45 16.74 16.03

**p<.01 In comparing the four models using their fit indices, the four factor model which was generated in the principal components analysis has the best fit (χ2=28935.92, df=7374, RMS Standardized Residual=.03, RMSEA=.04). It can be observed that the worst fit occurred for the one-factor model, and as the proposed factors of the models are separated, the fit improves. The analysis of the four factor structure showed that the derived four-factor structure of scientific thought was confirmed. The adequate fit means that the solution tested fits the observations in the study. The factor structure also showed that all the 123 items that were used as indicators for each factor were significant, p>.001. The intercorrelations of the four factors of scientific thought also turned out to be significant where the increase in variance in one factor explains the others variance. The correlations of the four latent constructs ranged from .86 to .93. The significant correlations with a positive direction indicate convergence of the four factors of scientific thought (see Appendix A). The reliability of the items of the four-factor model using Cronbach’s alpha had a .98 value indicating the responses in the 123 items have high internal consistency. When the Cronbach’s alpha were determined for each factor, the responses to the items still yielded high internal consistencies .96, .96, .95, and .95 for practical inclination, analytical interest, intellectual independence, and discourse assertiveness respectively. To investigate the functioning of the items in the scientific thinking scale, the one-parameter Rasch Partial Credit Model was used. The scale categories (4point scale) were first analyzed in the process to determine the threshold. Higher scale categories must reflect higher measures and low values for lower scales, thereby producing a monotonic increase in threshold values. The average step
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calibrations for practical inclination are, -9.12, 1.23, 2.74, and 5.16, for analytical interest, -12.51, -2.32, -.71, and 1.34, for intellectual independence, -7.60, .93, 2.24, and 4.43, and for discourse assertiveness, -7.74, 1.16, 2.15, and 4.44. All average step functions are increasing monotonically indicating that a 4-point scale for each factor attained “scale ordering” where there is a high probability of observance of certain scale categories. To determine if the items under each factor has a unidimensional structure, item fit mean square (MNSQ) was computed. MNSQ INFIT values within 1.3 and less than 0.7 are acceptable. High values of item MNSQ indicate a “lack of construct homogeneity” with other items in a scale, whereas low values indicate “redundancy” with other items (Linacre & Wright 1998). Four Rasch analyses were conducted separately for each factor. For practical inclination, item 3 (I am bothered when structures are not built properly) had an infit of 3.05 which is above 1.3 indicating that this item lack construct homogeneity with other items. All other items for practical inclination fitted the Rasch Model. For analytical interest, item 55 (I like to engage in activities that involves critical thinking) with an infit of 2.05 also lacks construct homogeneity. For intellectual independence, three items also lacked construct homogeneity (I evaluate the outcomes of science and technology; I

support conclusions that I draw from accurate evidence; Conclusions are valid when they are based on scientific observations). For discourse assertiveness, two items lack construct homogeneity (I engage when someone argues with me; I am comfortable facing others whom I know do not like my ideas). These items do not
share a similarity as with the pool of items in the factor. These items can either be removed or revised. Discussion The study was able to construct a four factor model of scientific thinking that is composed of four domains: Practical Inclinations, analytical interest, intellectual independence, and discourse assertiveness. These four domains are empirically derived through factor analysis and further confirmed having the best fit for the observations. These four constructs also significantly increase with each other indicating convergent validity (correlations) and high internal consistencies (Cronbach’s alpha). The Rasch model also showed that very few items in each factor lack construct homogeneity which can still be improved and none of the items were redundant. Having derived the four domains explains scientific thinking better with its exclusive characteristics. Previous studies (i.e., Feist, 2006) identified scientific thinking by using other measures (mostly personality) and concluding that certain variables are present for a sample of scientists. These characteristics then made it typical of scientific thinking. However, the present study generated specific constructs that are scientific thinking in nature. Previous studies also explain scientific thinking by classifying the type of thinking for a given approach (i.e., Dunbar, 1999; Rosser, 1999) which describes more of the activities engaged by scientists and not patterns of scientific thinking. However, the present study arrived with specific labels that exemplify and describe the thinking of scientists.

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The four specific domains in the present study are practical inclination, analytical interest, intellectual independence, and discourse assertiveness. A model that is comprised of these four factors is an attempt to unite different perspectives in characterizing scientific thinking. This derived and confirmed model indicates that these four domains significantly increase with each other. It follows that if an individual have a strong tendency to manifest one domain, they would likely exemplify in the other domains. For example, an individual who exemplify the use of mathematical heuristics in solving problems encountered in daily phenomenon would (practical inclination) most likely be strategic in thinking for other tasks (analytical interest). In another case, individuals who show expertise and strong background on a specialized knowledge (intellectual independence) have a tendency to be high in asserting their ideas during conversations and debates. Practical inclination was derived from items reflecting the real world experience (Dunbar, 1999), domain specific thinking (Rosser, 1999), and scientific thinking as everyday thinking (Kuhn, 1989). This involves items that typify scientific thinking in ordinary living such as everyday reasoning, and math applications. Everyday reasoning may involve encountering problems that needs solution and the kind of thinking required is backed up by theory and evidence. There may also be scenarios that require the use of mathematics such as purchasing and budgeting. This concept is consistent to Sternberg, Castejón, Hautamäki, and Grigorenko’s (2001) practical intelligence where the individual thinks of adapting to, shaping of, and selecting of real-world environments. People high in practical intelligence are strong in using, implementing, and applying ideas and products. This kind of thinking is represented in everyday parlance by expressions such as “I am able to apply theories in dealing with household chores” or “I can predict the durability of materials by looking at its specific characteristics.” Analytical interest is a range of thinking that involves mental strategies, heuristics, methods (Kuhn, 1989), computational approach (Dunbar, 1999), and justification science epistemology (Liang, Lee, & Tsai, 2010) used to generate scientific knowledge. The goal in analytical interest is to discover knowledge, and such thinking deals with concepts, hypotheses and theories, and abstractions. The scientific method is emphasized in this kind of thinking. The thinking involved in the use of scientific method is linear and hierarchical and the individual is independent of personal and cultural value system so that results can be repeated by anyone. For example, Santi and Higgins (2005) explained that geologists or hydrogeologists can gain the technical knowledge and skills they need through experience and self-education. Part of this skill is analytical interest. Analytical thinking skills can be taught through a variety of exercises that enhance the geology curriculum without adding new topics, including in-class discussion questions, homework and laboratory problems, and add-ons to mapping and semester projects. Dunn (1982) described analytical thinkers to be linear sequential and logical. Analytic individuals capture and remember information best when it is presented in a step-by-step, methodical, sequential, little by little, leading toward an understanding of the concept or lessons presented. Analytics are usually persistent because they follow directions to complete a task and do things “sequentially.” They move from the beginning of a task to the end in a series of small, focused and goal-oriented steps. Analytical interest is manifested in statements such as “I believe
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that the scientific method is the best way in acquiring accurate data” or “I believe that processes needs to be systematic to make it work efficiently.” Intellectual independence includes expertise (Ericsson & Lehman, 1996), intrinsic motivation, autonomy (Feist, 2006), experimental approach (Dunbar, 1999), and certainty science epistemic belief (Liang, Lee, & Tsai, 2010). Intellectual independence can be defined as the ability of a learner to make knowledge claims independent of the traditional authorities of the teacher and textbook (Oliver & Nichols, 2001). It involves awareness that knowledge could be created as a result of the examination of empirical evidence that is independent of the traditional authority. Intellectual independence is manifested by a person who is an investigator, who seeking by means of his own efforts to find out what is truthnot a mere imitator or verifier of the results obtained by others. The conclusions reached must be deductions from the evidence observed, not statements memorized from a text or learned from a teacher. The laws and principles derived must be inferences warranted by the conclusions from the evidence. In describing an intellectual independent student, they should learn to trust his own powers and grow strong in the assurance of first-hand knowledge. They test and observe for themselves, and receive nothing upon mere authority. No other exercise so develops the freedom and confidence of independent thinking (Poteat, 1999). Poteat (1999) dissuaded teaching that would encourage students to accept assertions "upon mere authority." Examples of statements for intellectual independence are “I explore my own ideas and provide evidence for its truthfulness” or “”I dislike teachers that discourage students from arguing their ideas with others.” Discourse assertiveness includes the thinking that characterizes dominance, arrogance, hostility, self-confidence, argumentative, and assertive. Paterson (2000) defined assertiveness as the ability to express one’s needs, wants, and feelings directly and honestly and to see the needs of others as equally important. It is the ability to say "no" or "yes," as appropriate, to requests-to express positive/negative feelings and conveniently initiate, sustain or terminate a social discuss (Lazarus, 1973). Examples of statements for discourse assertiveness include “I engage when someone argues with me” or “I can express my opinion even when others may not agree with me.” The four domains derived in the study form the pillars of scientific thinking. Having an integrated typology of scientific thinking forms a foundation for a unified conceptualization as a variable. In the present study, scientific thinking is described as (1) composed of four domains (practical inclination, analytical interest, intellectual independence, and discourse assertiveness), (2) the identified domains are interrelated. Having an initial construct of scientific thinking allows other researchers to use and further test the construct to strengthen its generalizability. The insight into scientific thinking advance understanding in science learning. Since the dispositions of scientific thinking are identified, these can be included in the set of expectations for students who major in the sciences or undergoing a science curriculum. A science curriculum that is geared in developing students who would be engaged in scientific work can use the derived model of scientific thinking as basis of the outcome or students produced in the program. Research in the past 30 years have emphasized the development of scientific thinking

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across science curriculum, however, despite efforts in the Philippines, students are reported to have low scores (i.e., TIMSS). One possible intervention is to clarify and refocus the competencies, skills, and traits that students need to develop to succeed in science. The derived model of scientific thinking can function as a set of traits that provide benchmark for students to develop. References Alloy, L., & Tabachnik, N. (1984). Assessment of covariation by humans and animals: The joint influence of prior expectations and current situational information. Psychological Review, 91, 112-149. Arthur, A. R. (2001). Personality, epistemology and psychotherapists' choice of theoretical model: A review and analysis. European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counseling and Health, 4, 45-64. Bachtold, L. M., & Werner, E. E. (1972). Personality characteristics of women scientists. Psychological Reports, 31, 391-396. Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R., (2000). How people learn: Brain,

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Appendix A

Four-Factor Measurement Model of Critical Thinking
Item 25 Item 26 Item 27 Item 28 Item 29 Item 30 Item 31 Item 32 Item 33 Item 34 Item 35 Item 36 Item 37 Item 38 Item 39 Item 40 Item 41 Item 42 Item 43 Item 44 Item 45 Item 46 Item 47 Item 48 Item 49 Item 50 Item 51 Item 52 Item 53 Item 54 Item 55
.61 .61 .62 .61 .58 .63 .60 .61 .66 .66 .60 .61 .56 .63 .60 .60 .56 .60 .60 .59 .64 .63 .62 .61 .62 .61 .61 .65 .62 .64 .61 .63 .67 .62 .60 .61 .59 .59 .63 .60 .58

Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9 Item 10 Item 11 Item 12 Item 13 Item 14 Item 15 Item 16 Item 17 Item 18 Item 19 Item 20 Item 21 Item 22 Item 23 Item 24


Practical Inclination

.59 .58 .59 .62 .65

Analytical Interest

.62 .60 .61 .58 .62 .61





.60 .57 .61

Item 56 Item 57 Item 58 Item 59 Item 60 Item 61 Item 62 Item 63 Item 64 Item 65 Item 66 Item 67 Item 68 Item 69 Item 70 Item 71 Item 72 Item 73 Item 74 Item 75 Item 76 Item 77 Item 78 Item 79 Item 80 Item 81 Item 82 Item 83 Item 84 Item 85 Item 86 Item 87 Item 88 Item 89 Item 90

.63 .62 .59

.57 .57

Item 91 Item 92 Item 93 Item 94 Item 95 Item 96 Item 97 Item 98 Item 99 Item 100 Item 101 Item 102 Item 103 Item 104 Item 105 Item 106 Item 107 Item 108 Item 109 Item 110 Item 111 Item 112 Item 113 Item 114 Item 115 Item 116 Item 117 Item 118 Item 119 Item 120 Item 121 Item 122 Item 123

.64 .63 .58 .60 .60 .63 .61 .61 .63 .64 .60 .58 .57 .60 .64 .61 .60 .59 .44 .60 .58 .56 .59 .59 .59 .59 .62 .61 .59 .57 .59 .59 .59 .58 .57 .58 .57


.60 .60 .57

Discourse Assertiveness Intellectual Independence

.60 .62 .62 .62 .59 .65 .60 .62 .63 .60 .60 .58 .57 .57 .57 .58 .64 .60 .60 .59 .63 .62 .61

© 2010 Time Taylor Academic Journals ISSN 2094-0734

The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment December 2010, Vol. 6(1)


About the Author Dr. Carlo Magno is presently a faculty of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department of the De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Ave, Manila, Philippines. This study was funded by the University Research and Coordination Office of the said university. Correspondence can be addressed to the author at

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