Gender differences in critical thinking and strategy use in English writing from sources among Chinese EFL undergraduates

Pengfei ZHAO, Xian LIAO, Yuan YAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Critical thinking skills play a crucial role in academic writing for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners. It is argued that students’ critical thinking skills can support their implementation of writing strategies during source-based writing tasks. Additionally, gender is a significant factor that influences students’ critical thinking and use of writing strategies. However, our understanding of the interplay among gender, critical thinking, and writing strategy use in English source-based writing tasks is still limited. To address this research gap, this study performed a questionnaire and an English writing from sources task to examine the relationships between critical thinking skills (i.e., systematic analysis, thinking within box, and thinking outside box) and writing strategy use (i.e., discourse synthesis, evaluation, planning, and source use) among 376 first-year Chinese EFL undergraduates. The results indicated that systematic analysis had a significant, positive impact on students’ utilization of discourse synthesis, evaluation, source use, and planning, while thinking within the box showed a negative correlation with evaluation. Furthermore, female students used discourse synthesis, evaluation, and planning strategies more frequently than male students, and exhibited less thinking within the box compared to their male counterparts. Besides, there were distinct pathways from critical thinking skills to strategy use for males and females, with more significant effect paths observed in the female groups. Specifically, systematic analysis significantly predicted discourse synthesis and planning among males, and all four strategies among females. However, only thinking within the box was found to significantly predict discourse synthesis, evaluation, and planning for females. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101547
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Volume52
Early online dateMay 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Citation

Zhao, P., Liao, X., & Yao, Y. (2024). Gender differences in critical thinking and strategy use in English writing from sources among Chinese EFL undergraduates. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 52, Article 101547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2024.101547

Keywords

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Writing strategy use
  • English writing from sources
  • Chinese undergraduates
  • Gender differences
  • PG student publication

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