An investigation of critical thinking and individual voice in male and female EFL undergraduate university students' writings

Document Type : Original Article


University of Zabol



 The present study aimed to investigate Critical Thinking and Individual Voice in male and female Iranian undergraduate university students' writings. To this end, a set of literary works studied and discussed during the Introduction to English Literature course were assigned to a group of 60 male and female students to write some essays as their term projects. The essays were scored and evaluated independently by two raters in terms of Stapleton (2001) critical thinking elements including: arguments, reasons, evidences, recognition of oppositions and refutations, fallacies and conclusions. The number of agreed-on elements was divided by the total number of agreements and disagreements and multiplied by 100 to get the percent inter-rater reliability. Regarding Individual voice, the total number of T-units−the main clause and all the dependent clauses in a sentence (Larsen-Freeman and Long, 1991) − and the number of T-units representing "self" were calculated and compared. By dividing the already scored essays into two groups of 15 males and females, the overall performance of males and females on the essays regarding Critical Thinking and Individual Voice were also compared. The results revealed no significant difference between males' and females' critical thinking level. In almost all cases, there were a vast number of claims unsupported by logical reasons and evidence from the texts, hasty and irrelevant conclusions, and lots of fallacies which suggest students' overall tendency to copy what they read rather than evaluating and judging it themselves through logical reasoning. For Individual voice although there appeared to be a better performance of males over females, still the number of T-units representing self was too low in both groups.