Assessing Critical Thinking Processes in a Computer Conference.
The practical enquiry model describes a process by which experience leads to understanding though a cyclical process of deliberation-action, perception- conception. The four-phases cycle begins with a triggering event, moves through exploration and, as exploration reveals possible insights, integration, and concludes with resolution. Using the practical inquiry model as conceptual grounding, in this study Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s (2001) procedure for analyzing conference transcripts at the message level was compared with a sentence-level method, using the Transcript Analysis Tool (TAT). Three categories of the TAT were developed, aligning it with the critical inquiry model under different assumptions about and interpretations of the model’s four phases. One of the alignments was shown to accord almost perfectly with the critical inquiry model, with both procedures showing that exploration was most common, followed by integration, triggers and resolution. Other alignments showed different proportions, suggesting that further research (preferably at the sentence level) might be useful in establishing the variation of the proportions of the model’s elements in online interactions of different types and purposes, conducted under different conditions of social and moderator presence.