Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A grounded theory of the factors that mediate the effect of a strengths-based educational intervention over a four-month period
by Pritchard, Gary M., Ph.D., Azusa Pacific University, 2009, 242; 3376400
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to gain a rich narrative description of students' experiences when exposed for the first time to an intervention that focuses on an individual's strengths. Strengths-based approaches attempt to help students identify their own unique talents, and then use them to develop a strategy for utilising such gifts in negotiating their academic progression and careers. It used a grounded theory methodological approach to ascertain a theory or identifiable construct of experience that relates to a particular context grounded in the experience and perceptions of the participants (Creswell 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The results reveal that students experienced a range of positive emotional and developmental resonance as a result of the intervention. One of the substantive findings of this study is that students encounter a highly personalized “strengths journey” when exposed to a strengths-based educational intervention. How that journey begins is dependent on the level of resonance they experience with their strengths profiles, which is also dependent on a number of mediating factors including the ability to cognitively reframe long held beliefs about their talent and abilities. Some students experienced what the author has termed a ‘Learning Epiphany’ and in some cases this manifestation was dramatic and highly positive. These components form the basis of the key themes that emerged from the data: (a) short-term psychosocial effects of a strengths intervention, positive initial mediators of intervention effect, (b) negative initial mediators of intervention effect, (c) psychosocial effects of a strengths intervention after four months, (d) positive four-month mediators of intervention effect, and (e) negative four-month mediators of intervention effect. This research has meaningful implications for curriculum design and delivery, and offers much potential for supporting students in achieving excellence in their academics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sheridan, Dennis A.
School: Azusa Pacific University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Educational intervention, Higher education, Intervention, Strengths, Strengths-based, Strengths-based education, Talent development
Publication Number: 3376400
ISBN: 9781109387308
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