The development of critical thinking in diagnostic radiography

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Author Name and Credentials: Aarthi Ramlaul, Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader, Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging, School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire
Presenter Name and Credentials: as above
Country: United Kingdom
Topic: Education
Oral Presentation
Title of Presentation: The development of critical thinking in diagnostic radiography
Introduction: Critical thinking, including rational evaluation, is essential to student radiographers’ success in meeting the ever-changing demands of clinical practice. The vital role of critical thinking skills is reflected in competency frameworks across radiography and the health professions. However little is known about how critical thinking develops within radiography Higher Education. The aim of this study was to explore students’ and tutors’ perceptions of how critical thinking develops during an undergraduate radiography university degree programme.

Methods: The study was undertaken via a qualitative methodological design employing semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Data was analysed using thematic and conceptual analysis of core emergent themes.

Findings: Participants perceived that written assignments and problem-based learning tasks helped to develop the higher order cognitive skills of analysis and evaluation at university. Clinical placement learning, however, was found to play the greater part in the development of critical thinking skills. Progression of learning from year 1 to year 3 fostered opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills. However, the learning trajectory was found to be a non-linear process. Both students and tutors acknowledged challenges which hindered the development of critical thinking skills.

Conclusion: Although clinical placement learning was profound, it was evident that students’ generally lacked the facility to develop a critical thinking attitude. The largely instruction-led nature of practice coupled with protocol driven examinations created impediments to developing critical thinking skills. Challenges to developing critical thinking, both in university and in clinical placement, have implications for pedagogy and practice, and require further exploration.
Key words: critical thinking, decision-making, evaluation, judgment, reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2018
EventInternational Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists - Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Duration: 12 Apr 201815 Apr 2018


ConferenceInternational Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists
Abbreviated titleISRRT
Country/TerritoryTrinidad and Tobago
CityPort of Spain


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