Interior Architecture (MSIA) Student Research | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

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Critical Thinking: Development in Interior Design Studio Environments

Author: Roxann A. O’Rourke-Sherrodd
Date: 2011
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

Critical thinking is identified as a vital skill for interior designers by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) as well as universities and colleges across the nation. The purpose of this study was to explore the development of critical thinking in interior design students within a studio setting using the W.G. Perry (1968) scheme of intellectual development as a model. This model describes how college level students' progress in their knowledge of contextual understanding. By using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies the presented findings involved three studio classes of intermediate level interior design students by investigating the relationship between teaching approach and students' development of advanced design solutions. The study was designed to support the effective determination of the five levels found in critical thinking: dualistic, multiplistic, procedural knowledge, constructed knowledge, and continued knowledge. With end results giving an analysis to the evaluation instruments effectiveness, the development of critical thinking skills of interior design students while in a studio classroom setting, and the implications for teaching styles and methods used in the development and perception of critical thinking. Keywords: critical thinking, development, interior design, learning style, teaching style.