Student Research Group

The research group meets once a month and offers students an opportunity to present and receive critical feedback on research, proposals, manuscripts, or ideas.

Upcoming Schedule

Date/Time Presenter Location
October 9 @ 11am Samantha Tan (tentative) Elder Hall 342
October 30 @ 11am   TBD Elder Hall 342       
November 20 @ 11am TBD Elder Hall 342


Student Research Group Archives

Ecological Momentary Gratitude Intervention Produces Immediate Mood Effects
Emily Ragsdale
April 10, 2014

While evidence suggests that gratitude practices can enhance happiness, other studies have found that focusing on happiness itself may, in some contexts, decrease happiness levels (Mauss, Tamir, Anderson, & Savino, 2011; Conner & Reid, 2012). We investigated the effects of an ecological momentary gratitude intervention on happiness ratings. Participants (N=152) completed pretest measures and were randomly assigned to one of three groups. All participants were responded to daily prompts and reported their happiness on their iPhones over a 14-day period. The full gratitude group (n=53) received three daily gratitude prompts and one end-of-day gratitude intervention. The control group (n=51) received three daily prompts and an end-of-day question about how they spent their time. The partial gratitude group (n=48) responded to the same in-the-moment prompts as the control group and the same end-of-day intervention as the full gratitude group. Analysis of covariance revealed higher in-the-moment mood ratings for the full gratitude group when controlling for levels of depression (p=.02), anxiety (p=.02), stress (p=.02), neuroticism (p=.01), and self-efficacy for happiness (p=.01). Likewise, ANCOVA demonstrated lower variability on mood scores in the full gratitude group, relative to the control and partial gratitude groups. The implications of the increase in mood in the moment and the stabilizing mood effect from the EMI gratitude intervention will be discussed. Over time, we suspect that increased and more stable mood levels would result in other positive psychosocial outcomes.

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Note-taking: Computer vs. Pen and Paper
Emily Ragsdale
March 20, 2014

The purpose of this research was to study how taking notes on a computer influenced learning. While there is a cadre of research on note-taking (Cohn, Cohn, & Bradley, 2011; Katayama, Shambaugh, & Doctor, 2005; Kiewra, 1985; Kiewra & Benton, 1988; Kiewra et al., 1991; Kobayashi, 2005, 2006; Locke, 1977; Piolat, Olive, & Kellogg, 2005), there is little research comparing pen and paper note-taking to computer note-taking. This research was not an evaluation of how to take notes or the usefulness of taking notes, but rather a comparison of the effects of two different mediums on learning. In education, millions of dollars are being spent to purchase computers, despite research suggesting a negative association with learning in a classroom environment (Fried, 2008; Hembrooke & Gay, 2003; Sana, Weston, & Cepeda, 2013; Truman, 2005). One reason why low performance might be associated with computer use in class includes multitasking (Rubinstein, Meyer, & Evans, 2001). Therefore, controlling for other variables (i.e., multitasking), this study examined if and how taking notes on a computer affected student learning compared to pen/paper note-taking.

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Khan Academy Video Learning
Allie Alayan and Cody Reaves
February 20, 2014

In an increasingly digital world, empirically-supported research that evaluates effective learning from online videos should be explored (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009; Owston, 2009). Video learning is not new or revolutionary (Chu & Schramm, 1974; Krendl & Watkins, 1983; Kozma, 1986). However, many current online educational videos are not class lectures that build upon each other, but rather are short and simple worked out problem sets. For example, Khan Academy videos are short, focus on solving a specific problem, and appear to lack breadth and depth. This research first addressed the question, “Do students learn from online videos?”

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The Role of Religious and Political Beliefs in Attitudes Toward Homosexuals
Katie Gustafson
November 14, 2013

This research explores the religious and political factors that contribute to a negative attitude toward homosexuals. Results of a large survey of college students from a Christian college suggest that negative attitudes towards homosexuals may be more closely linked to one’s political rather than religious beliefs.

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Online Video Usefulness: The Effect of Self-Explanation on Learning
Allie Alayan and Cody Reaves
October 31, 2013

Self-reflection is an activity that past research suggests can increase learning. Given the continued growth of online learning and videos, research on the relationship between online video learning and self-explanation should be explored. We investigated self-explanation’s role in online video learning. All participants completed a pretest and post-test and watched a Khan Academy video that demonstrated how to solve a probability math problem. Students in the control group did not self-explain, while the students in the experimental condition created a video that required them to self-explain what they had learned. Results revealed that the creation of a self-explanation video did not significantly improve post-test scores over the control group, but both groups benefited from watching the video.

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