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Melek Demirel, Berna Gücüm

Hacettepe University (TURKEY)
Scientific thinking, as a proficiency, can be evaluated as a process which arises with the individual’s gaining the proficiency of abstract thinking as a proficiency and which includes such complicated dimensions as the probability, correlation, classifying, generalization, comparison, inference, analysis and evaluation that is developed as a skill during the education process.

Scientific thinking can be defined as a process which contains defining the variables in case of a problem; finding hypotheses that have the capacity of explaining facts by logical thinking relying on observations; establishing a research design in order to confirm them and the skills of expressing and interpretations of the research findings.

We can also describe the scientific thinking as an extension of the common daily thinking which is more controlled, consistent and critical. It is agreed by researchers that scientific thinking is not a skill that improves on its own, but some activities are needed in order to improve.

The improvement of scientific thinking is also essential for embodying life long learning into effect. In a system where lifelong learning is accepted, an individual, needing to learn about any subject, has the opportunity to reach the relevant information. The lifelong education requires the individual to learn during all of his/her life. Therefore, scientific point of view is a feature which will be needed all lifelong, enabling the individual to reach the valid information.

It is important that the skills of scientific thinking are enhanced into students in each stage of the formal and informal education in order to convert them into citizens who are both well able to research and question what they hear, see and read as responsible citizens in daily life and who inquire, choose, and use the necessary information for their vocational lives, and who have an entrepreneur soul as well. In this context, it is obvious that the students in the faculties training teachers at universities need to gain a high level of thinking skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, research skills and problem solving skills.

The aim of this research is to identify the scientific thinking skills of prospective teachers and to compare according to students’ gender, section and the sub dimensions of the scale which were defined as problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking and collecting/organizing data The fourth year students of the Faculty of Education, Hacettepe University, are chosen as the study group of the research. The data of the research are obtained by the “Scientific Thinking Skills Scale” (Göktürker, 2005). The scale is composed of five point Likert-type 42 items. Cronbach alpha reliability of the scale is 0.87. “t-test for unrelated groups” and “ one-way analysis of variance” are utilized for the analysis of data.