n South African Journal of Education - Measuring critical thinking in a political context

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



One of the most pressing issues, in education worldwide today, is that of how to develop citizens who are both politically well-informed and critical thinkers. In South Africa very little research into critical thinking in a political context has been conducted, and it appears that no tests have been developed. This article reports on the development of a valid and reliable test which measures critical thinking in a political context. This test was then used in research conducted on a sample of 748 testees. The first important result of the research was that deductive thinking was found to be the most important facet of critical thinking. Secondly, a significant correlation was found between political knowledge and critical thinking abilities in a political context. This implied that critical thinking ability varied directly with the amount of knowledge of the subject required by the problem. Thirdly, the results of the research indicated that gender and environment (rural or urban) do not play a role in critical thinking in a political context. Finally, some recommendations regarding the teaching of critical thinking and political literacy are given.

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