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This study provides a descriptive account of popular comments (n=57) extracted from four published news articles on an online news platform. This was done through a content analysis on the level of critical thinking found in readers’ comments deemed popular by other readers through the number of responses and likes. Comments from four news articles reporting on the Syrian conflict were analysed using the Newman, Webb, and Cochrane’s (1995) analytical protocol. Results showed that although there were clear indicators of critical thinking in the popular comments, specifically by providing justification and synthesizing comments with external materials. These indicators were of high frequency and common, perhaps due to the nature of the news items under analysis – which is concerned with an ongoing conflict that has political and social bearing on the readers. We conclude by suggesting future research to introduce relevant critical thinking indicators based on contextually-familiar news topics and a bigger data set.
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