The CREATE Approach to Primary Literature Shifts Undergraduates' Self-Assessed Ability to Read and Analyze Journal Articles, Attitudes about Science, and Epistemological Beliefs
The C. R. E. A. T. E. (Consider, Read, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyze and interpret data, Think of the next Experiment) method uses intensive analysis of primary literature in the undergraduate classroom to demystify and humanize science. We have reported previously that the method improves students' critical thinking and content integration abilities, while at the same time enhancing their self-reported understanding of "who does science, and why." We report here the results of an assessment that addressed C. R. E. A. T. E. students' attitudes about the nature of science, beliefs about learning, and confidence in their ability to read, analyze, and explain research articles. Using a Likert-style survey administered pre- and postcourse, we found significant changes in students' confidence in their ability to read and analyze primary literature, self-assessed understanding of the nature of science, and epistemological beliefs (e. g., their sense of whether knowledge is certain and scientific talent innate). Thus, within a single semester, the inexpensive C. R. E. A. T. E. method can shift not just students' analytical abilities and understanding of scientists as people, but can also positively affect students' confidence with analysis of primary literature, their insight into the processes of science, and their beliefs about learning.