Doctor of Education (EdD)
Secondary, Post Secondary and Vocational Education
Number of Pages
Adult learners (from high school through the late adult years) have a need for dialogical reasoning in active decision maKing Therefore, it was the purpose of this developmental study to write and test a short text (a primer using an innovative design) which infused the seven steps of decision making with elements from Aristotle's rhetoric/reasoning and from informal logic. The text introduced learners to critical thinking methods in creating alternatives in arguments for decisions impacting the future; Search of the literature included historical, political, sociological, educational, philosophical theory as it has influenced the teaching of reasoning in schools and colleges. Adult learning theory, developmental psychology, and a review of current rhetoric/reasoning/informal logic texts and theory also shaped the methods, content, and design of the text. A case-study protagonist and plot throughout the book encouraged reader participation in critical/creative thinking; A preliminary draft was taught to two English 102 classes in six fifty-minute meetings over three weeks. (Eleven students from this group had graduated high school in the 70s, 60s, or 50s, or were juniors or seniors in college.) In posttest, all students increased their decision-making steps; however, twenty-two of the total thirty-four students (65 percent) increased their decision-making steps (inquiry, evidence evaluation, creation of lines of arguments pro and con, causal reasoning in contingencies) by over one hundred percent. In a final 15-minute timed test of two complex argument paragraphs, eighty-three percent of the students identified at least four reasoning mistakes--e.g., faulty assumptions, premises, inference, distorted evidence--in one of the argument paragraphs using correct argumentation terminology. Forty-two percent of the students identified at least four errors in both paragraphs; Evaluations of the text from students and two instructors of adults guided the revision of the text. The final draft was validated by an English professor of rhetoric and a philosophy professor of practical reasoning. Implications from the study suggest further testing of the text, Reasoning in Decision Making, in high school and college classes (those requiring dialogical reasoning skills), in non-credit classes for the adult learner, and in current developmental psychology and critical thinking studies.
Adult; Decision; Development; Learner; Making; Reasoning; Short; Text
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Steedman, Carrol Severns, "Reasoning And Decision Making: The Development Of A Short Text For The Adult Learner" (1985). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2927.