Title page for ETD etd-08252008-162801

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Givens, Karolyn Whittlesey
URN etd-08252008-162801
Title Facilitating the cognitive growth of baccalaureate nursing students :using writing strategies for thinking and cognitive development /28 cm.
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Curriculum and Instruction
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Burton, John K. Committee Chair
Weber, Larry J. Committee Co-Chair
Castleberry, Karma Committee Member
Kelly, Patricia Proudfoot Committee Member
Magliaro, Susan G. Committee Member
  • Nursing students
Date of Defense 1990-04-05
Availability restricted

The purpose of this study was to discover whether a nurse educator could facilitate the cognitive development of baccalaureate nursing students using writing strategies that challenged their thinking.

The literature focuses first on the model of the cognitive development of college students as Perry first delineated it (1970) and later modified it (1978; 1981), as well as on how other researchers have elaborated and extended it from a descriptive to a prescriptive model. Also, literature related to writing as a strategy to facilitate learning, thinking, and developing is investigated, and specific writing tasks used to those ends are described.

The study was carried out with two groups of junior nursing students. A study group, consisting of 29 students, participated in a semester long nursing concepts course where writing was used to stimulate cognitive development. The control group, consisting of 16 students, enrolled in another section of the same course, was not provided the writing experience.

It was found that the total group (n = 45) demonstrated levels of cognitive development consistent with development of nursing students described in other studies (Colucciello, 1986; Frisch, 1987; Valiga 1983). An examination of student writing in response to writing assignments revealed that different kinds of tasks were effective in challenging students at different levels of development; different kinds of tasks also elicited different kinds of cognitve responses. consistent with other studies (stonewater & Daniels, 1983), it was found that there was not a statistically significant difference between the two groups in cognitive development at the end of the semester.

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