ExEAS Teaching Unit
Illustrative Question Stems for Guided Reciprocal Peer Testing
Erin McCarthy
Department of Philosophy
St. Lawrence University
The following question stem pairs are meant to provide a basis for students to create thoughtful questions for assigned reading which they may then share with each other in class during a discussion.  These thought-provoking questions go beyond those that merely ask students to recall factual information and help students comprehend the course material and develop a strategy for analysis through peer questioning.  Ask students to come to class with three questions based on the readings, and an answer to one of their three questions.  This gives the instructor an opportunity to gage at what level the students are engaging with the readings as well as the particular sections of the text or concepts that they are having trouble with.

King, A. “Inquiry as a Tool in Critical Thinking.”  In D. F. Halpern and Associates (Eds.), Changing College Classrooms: New Teaching and Learning Strategies for an Increasingly Complex World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.  The examples below are taken from page 24.

Generic Questions Specific Thinking Skills Induced
What is a new example of . . .? Application
How could . . . be used to . . .? Application
What would happen if . . .? Prediction/hypothesizing
What are the implications of . . .? Analysis/inference
What are the strengths and weaknesses of . . .? Analysis/inference
What is . . . analogous to? Identification and creation of analogies and metaphors
What do we already know about . . .? Activation of prior knowledge
How does . . . affect . . .? Analysis of relationship (cause-effect)
How does . . . tie in with what we learned before? Activation of prior knowledge
Explain why . . . Analysis
Explain how . . . Analysis
What is the meaning of . . .? Analysis
Why is . . . important? Analysis of significance
What is the difference between . . . and . . .? Comparison-contrast
How are . . . and . . . similar? Comparison-contrast
How does . . . apply to everyday life? Application -- to the real world
What is the counterargument for . . .? Rebuttal argument
What is the best . . ., and why? Evaluation and provision of evidence
What are some possible solutions to the problem of . . .? Synthesis of ideas
Compare . . . and . . . with regard to . . . Comparison-contrast
What do you think causes . . .?  Why? Analysis of relationship (cause-effect)
Do you agree or disagree with this statement: . . . ?  What evidence is there to support your answer? Evaluation and provision of evidence
How do you think . . . would see the issue of . . .? Taking other perspectives