Critical thinking skills in group discussion using the Peer Socratic Questioning (PSQ) technique / Zainab Ab. Rahman

Ab. Rahman, Zainab (2019) Critical thinking skills in group discussion using the Peer Socratic Questioning (PSQ) technique / Zainab Ab. Rahman. PhD thesis, Universiti Teknologi MARA ( Kampus Puncak Alam ).


The main aim of this qualitative study was to investigate the experiences of a group of TESL degree students using a questioning technique called Peer Socratic Questioning (PSQ) in their group discussion activities. Specifically, this study sought to examine the types of Socratic questions they asked in their group discussions and how the questions influenced their critical thinking levels. This study also investigated the participants’ perception of the PSQ technique in improving their group discussion and the challenges the participants faced in using the PSQ technique. The study involved 20 participants from an Institute of Teacher Education located in Terengganu. The participants were Semester 2 Year 2 TESL students taking the ELT Methodology course. The participants were divided into five groups and were involved in six group discussions employing the PSQ technique. The study employed a qualitative research design where data was collected via reflective journal entries, video recordings of group discussions and the video recording of focus group interview. The data collection took 11 weeks to complete and the data was analysed by using the ATLAS.ti software. The findings of the study revealed that two main types of Socratic questions (conceptual clarification questions and questions probing viewpoints and perspectives) dominated the group discussions. These two types of questions not only helped the participants gain a better understanding of the topics of discussion but also more importantly showed that the PSQ technique enhanced participants’ critical thinking levels. This was evident in their ability to analyse and evaluate their own levels of thinking and they perceived that the PSQ technique increased their self-efficacy, confidence, engagement and personal development. The challenges that they faced while using the PSQ technique were not due to the technique itself but rather their lack of preparation and resources, language proficiency, unfamiliarity of the technique, the quality of questions asked and the topic of discussion. Overall, the participants perceived that the PSQ technique had improved their group discussion and would like to continue using it in subsequent discussions. With proper guidance, the PSQ technique would be a very helpful technique not only to promote and enhance critical thinking but also to improve learning in general.


Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Email / ID Num.
Ab. Rahman, Zainab
Email / ID Num.
Thesis advisor
Teoh, Sian Hoon
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Elementary or public school education. Elementary school teaching
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Higher Education > Methods of study > Critical thinking. Thinking skills. Creative thinking
Divisions: Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor > Puncak Alam Campus > Faculty of Education
Programme: Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords: Critical Thinking Skills, Group Discussion, Peer Socratic Questioning (PSQ)
Date: May 2019
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