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Learning dilemmas in undergraduate student independent essays
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2015 (English)In: Studies in Higher Education, ISSN 0307-5079, E-ISSN 1470-174X, Vol. 40, no 5, 838-851 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Essay-writing is generally viewed as the primary learning activity to fosterindependence and analytical thinking. In this article, we show that independentresearch projects do not necessarily lead to critical thinking. University-leveleducation on conducting independent projects can, in several respects, counteractenhanced analytical skills. The purpose of this study is to advance knowledge onthe difficulties students experience in acquiring analytical skills. A group ofundergraduate political science students were interviewed while they attended anindependent research course. They were also asked to record their reflections.The digital diaries provide access to the students’ perceptions regarding theassignment and their struggles as they handle scientific problems. We argue thatthe students are caught up in different learning dilemmas when asked to performindependent academic research. One result is that ambiguous and contradictoryunderstandings of science affect the learning processes and thus affect thestudents’ possibilities for developing analytical thinking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 40, no 5, 838-851 p.
Keyword [en]
analytical thinking, learning dilemmas, political science, essaywriting, student perspective
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99974DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2013.842967ISI: 000353487200007OAI: diva2:690040
Available from: 2014-01-08 Created: 2014-01-22 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Wendt, MariaÅse, Cecilia
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