NTLTC 2011 - student use of academic resources in assignments
Dr. Nancy Evans Weaver Principal Lecturer, Psychology Estelle Barnard Subject Librarian, PsychologyOpen Polytechnic of New Zealand
Overview of Presentation Introduction: Background and rationale Method: Participants, Materials, Procedure Results: Descriptive statistics, Statistical testing Discussion: Summary of findings, critique, future plans
IntroductionEstelle’s question: What library sources do psychology students use?Expanded version: What sources from the scholarly literature do tertiary- level students use in completing their assignments?Collaborative nature of our research Nancy: Psychology lecturer, teaching in one of our large introductory psychology courses Estelle: Psychology librarian, helping lecturers to develop resources for students in this course.
Our Goals Use our data to advise faculty. Do faculty expectations about type and frequency of use match student use patterns? How can faculty improve instructions about source use in scholarly writing? Use our data to advise librarians. Are current library resources used by students? How can library programmes better fit needs?
Our DataWe collected data on: Sources used Textbook? Instructor-provided sources? Library-provided sources? Student characteristics Previous and current study Assignment characteristics Submitted online or in print? Mark received?
MethodParticipants Students enrolled in 73195 general & applied psychology, trimester 1 2010 124 students Previous and current study 55% had NCEA levels 2 or 3 53% had previously enrolled at OP for a course(s) 67% studying only this course this trimester
This course One of a pair of Intro Psych courses at the Open Polytechnic ODL (online and distance learning) Assignment 1: Set up, run, and report on a psychological experiment on memory Specifically instructed in APA citing and referencing (counts for 5% of mark)
Materials Collected the References page from Assignment 1 for all 124 students Coded to remove identity Coded to record type of submission (in print or online)
Procedure Stratified random sample (n=12) of entire assignments pulled and checked to see how accurately References page captured sources cited. 32/36 sources on References page were cited (as they should be) within the assignment: Accuracy = 88.89% 32/33 cited sources were on References page (as they should be): Accuracy = 96.97% Categorized and counted sources used
ResultsTwo types of data analysis1. Descriptive statistics: Categories, with central tendencies, ranges, frequencies2. Statistical testing: Chi square tests of 3 hypotheses
Results: Descriptive Statistics Total number of sources used Mean = 3.62 sources (none required) Range = 0 – 11 Median and Mode = 4
Results: Descriptive Statistics Library sources Subject Guide (online list of 73 library-held materials specifically for this course and this assignment) Frequency: 6% Range: 0-2 Recommended and Additional Resources (online list of 17 library-held materials useful for psychology in general) Frequency: 2% Range: 0-4
Results: Descriptive Statistics Other sources Not textbook, not instructor-recommended, not library- provided Found by student (?) Frequency: 21% Range: 0-7
Results: Descriptive Statistics Type of submission Students choose In this assignment, 80% submitted online and 20% submitted in print. Mark achieved Mean = 64.47 Mode = 75 Median = 67 Range: 18 to 91
Results: Statistical Testing Just beginning – many more to run. Based on pilot study (2009) and experience in this course, we tested two general effects: Hypothesis 1: There would be an effect of type of submission. Hypothesis 2 : Some source variables would affect mark achieved.
Results: Statistical TestingHypothesis 1: There would be an effect of type of submission.Specific test: Use of journal articles would differ between online and print submissions.Result: When we grouped the articles used (no articles used, 1 article used, 2 articles used, all 3 articles used), there is the suggestion of an effect. Online submissions may have used more of these articles than did print submissions (Chi square = 7.44, df = 3, p = .059).
Results: Statistical TestingHypothesis 2: Some source variables would affect mark achieved.Specific Test # 1: The number of sources used would be related to the mark achieved.Result: Grouping number of sources (0-1, 2-3, 4 or more), there is a weak effect on mark. Assignments using more sources got higher marks (Chi square = 12.59, df = 6, p = .05).
Results: Statistical TestingHypothesis 2: Some source variables would affect mark achieved.Specific Test # 2: The use of instructor-recommended articles would be related to the mark achieved.Result: Grouping article use (no article used, 1 used, 2 used, all 3 used) and grouping marks into letter grade categories (0-49, 50-59, 60-74, 75-100), there is a significant effect on mark. Assignments using more of these articles got higher marks (Chi square = 24.78, df = 9, p < .01).
Results: Summary We categorized source types, collected descriptive statistics on all of them, and ran some statistical tests. On average, students used 3 or 4 sources in this assignment. The most frequently used sources were the instructor-provided set of three journal articles, the textbook, and the instructor- provided background. Library sources were infrequently used. Statistical testing suggests some effects of type of submission and two variables that affect mark.
Discussion Can we measure the types and frequencies of sources used by tertiary-level students beginning their study of psychology? Yes. Our results relate well to a body of literature on the use of citation analysis. Journal articles are often used heavily in student writing, and advice from faculty affects what sources students use (e.g., Krause, 2002). We found both these effects among ODL students at the Open Polytechnic.
Surprises More use of sources than we expected, given that none (other than their own data) are required: average of 3 – 4 sources used, with one student using 11. As we found in the pilot study, assignments submitted online may differ in some ways from those submitted in print. Very low use of library sources, even those specifically geared to this assignment in this course.
Limitations to our work Very limited sample: Students in one course, in one trimester, in one discipline, at one institution (which is ODL). Limitations involving participants: We assume competency in citing and referencing. We assume honesty in citing and referencing. Limitations involving statistics: We have only begun testing. Some categories have low numbers, which can affect results.
Future directions Finish stats testing. Analyse data from Assignment 2. Collect and analyse data from assignments in a Level 6 course for which 73195 is a prerequisite.
Thanks Our colleagues for help with data collection and analysis. Our students for their hard work in learning how to run an experiment and write a scholarly report. You, our audience today. Comments and suggestions: Nancy.Weaver@openpolytechnic.ac.nz