Gyenes, Adam (2021, September). Student perceptions of critical thinking in EMI programs at Japanese universities: A Q-methodology study. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. (ePub in advance of print) (Link:

Abstract: Over the past two decades, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has pursued the internationalization of the nation’s universities, enticing students from overseas through English-medium instruction (EMI) degree programs, that simultaneously aim to nurture Japanese students with global skills. The development of critical thinking (CT) is a stated aim of many such programs, yet CT has been a contested concept in Japanese education, while student understandings of CT differ in a diversified student body. Here, Q-methodology is utilized to investigate views of CT among Japanese and international students in EMI programs. 39 students who had completed CT courses at two national universities ranked statements describing the qualities of a critical thinker. Through factor analysis, four distinct views of CT emerged, two of which were highly favoured by Japanese students, two others by international students. Japanese students accentuated perspective taking, flexibility, listening to others, and reflexivity as essential qualities of a critical thinker, while international students valued logical argumentation and evidence analysis. While this could be attributed to socio-cultural or pedagogical differences, it also provides impetus to explore the complex range of influences on students’ identity construction within EMI programs.

Adam Gyenes <> is on the Faculty of Sociology, Ryutsu Keizai University, Ryugasaki, Ibaraki, Japan.