Evaluation of a radiographic technique: one dimension of critical thinking

Alan Castle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Previous articles in this series (July 2010 and April 2011) have looked at examples of how undergraduate students can demonstrate their ability to interpret data and generate new ideas as part of developing their critical thinking skills. As a final example, the evaluation component of critical thinking is explored which requires students to recognise arguments, separate fact from opinion and verify the value of evidence. In this way they can fully engage with evidence-based practice. Contents: The evaluation component of critical thinking encourages students to ask the right questions when considering research data and dig deeper into the motives, expertise and assumptions underlying the evidence presented. The worked example is for an evaluation of the effectiveness of X-ray imaging of the lumbar spine in patients presenting with persistent nonspecific low back pain (LBP). The structure of the evaluation includes clinical indications, diagnostic yield, effectiveness of current practice and comparison with other diagnostic imaging options. Conclusions: Since critical thinking is not a single entity, understanding the key components that contribute to the whole is important if undergraduate students are to be encouraged and supported in developing their critical thinking skills. The example of an evaluation of a radiographic technique illustrates how students are expected to go about demonstrating their understanding of the intentions and motivations behind judgements, protocols and guidelines which are aimed at improving the delivery of health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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