The Use of Newspaper Articles as a Tool to Develop Critical Thinking in Science Classes

Begoña Oliveras, Conxita Márquez, Neus Sanmartí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this research is to identify the difficulties experienced by secondary school students (aged 15-16) with the critical reading of newspaper articles with scientific content. Two newspaper critical reading activities in relation to the study of various scientific contents were designed and carried out in two schools (61 students in total), one with a student population from a medium to high social and economic bracket and the other with students from a medium to low social and economic bracket. These activities were designed taking into account the phases of the reading process: before, during and after reading. In order to analyse the difficulties 'Elements of science critical reading' were identified on the basis of the 'Elements of reasoning' of Paul and Elder and the categories proposed by Bartz C.R.I.T.I.C. questionnaire and a scale was drawn up. The results show that the activities designed were useful in helping students to read critically. We also rated very positively the instrument created to assess the students' answers: the scale based on the performance indicators of Paul and Elder. This instrument enabled us to detect the aspects of critical thinking where students have the most difficulties: identifying the writer's purpose and looking for evidence in a text. It was also shown that the stance taken in the articles also had an influence on the results. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-905
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2013


  • Critical thinking
  • Newspaper critical reading
  • Scientific literacy
  • Secondary school


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