2017-Oyegoke Teslim Bukoye

Assessing the value of capstone unit in developing critical thinking skills in MSc students

Dr Oyegoke Teslim Buyoke, University of Bath

Co-Investigator: Dr Michael Oyelere, Coventry University


Abstract: This project is centred on developing critical thinking skills using capstone. In United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education (HE), final units/modules require a form of independent critical research, which is often dissertation-based. However, this project is focused on assessing the use of a multi-faceted approach to achieve the objectives set out in Dissertation stage. The Capstone does not only include a traditional Dissertation but also include Live Project and Professional Practice. The study intends to explore the extent to which student use the capstone options especially experiential Live Project and Professional Practice to demonstrate their understanding and application of high-criticality. Pre- and post-MSc students’ data will be collected and analysed to examine students understanding and application of high-criticality (critical-analytic thinking skills) from their capstone experiences. Pre-capstone data will be collected to determine students’ expectations of their capstone unit and the critical thinking skills required. While the post-capstone data will be collected to determine the students’ understanding and application of high-criticality (critical-analytic thinking skills). The possible implications of the project will further our understanding of capstone as a useful academic practice for developing student’s critical thinking skills. It will also further the case for capstone as replacement or alternative option for traditional dissertation on MSc programmes. A qualitative research technique is proposed. Semi-structured interviews will be carried out in six institutions. The host institution, two UK institutions which adopt capstone, one institution that is yet to adopt capstone unit and two EU institutions. It is anticipated that findings may reveal that capstone is highly relevant but could place emphases on certain sub-skills of critical thinking skills while ignoring others (Perry, Paulsen, & Retallick, 2014).