Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Teresa Nadder

Second Advisor

William Korzun

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Legg

Fourth Advisor

Peter Hu


The purpose of this study was to improve critical thinking skills in clinical laboratory technologists through the development, implementation, and assessment of a multimodal model targeting critical thinking skills. Clinical laboratory technologists influence patient care through the testing of laboratory samples. Employers of these entry level professionals identified a need for improved critical thinking skills. This quasi-experimental study aimed to design a multimodal critical thinking model, implement the model into the clinical laboratory educational curriculum, and assesses this skill set for students in a pre-test / post-test format. The model was delivered and assessed for 47 clinical laboratory students at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s School of Health Professions. Based on numerical results for the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT), no significant difference in critical thinking skills was observed for clinical laboratory students before and after the integration of the multimodal model targeting this skill set into the curriculum. For the purpose of this study, critical thinking was defined as the ability to effectively evaluate and interpret data, apply existing knowledge to solve problems in new situations, demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness in learning, and problem solving, and effectively and persuasively communicate findings. Further analysis of the results indicated that junior and community college students were more likely to improve their HSRT scores after completion of the multimodal model than 4-year university and bachelor level students. Findings also suggest a positive relationship between GPA and improved HSRT scores. The amount of time as student spent on each assessment was directly related to success, and an inverse relationship was observed for usage of the model reference material. Further studies are needed to ensure model validity and generalizability of findings. Additionally, HSRT categorical results indicate the need for model modifications to better target the areas of deduction and inference. The online, asynchronous format may benefit from the addition of mandated discussion boards, and requiring assessment and evaluation completion may reduce the effects of lack of effort due to cognitive fatigue observed for this study.


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