The moderating role of personality on the effectiveness of implementation intentions aimed at increasing engagement with university mathematics support services

  • Roy Gurudevbhai Bhakta

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Abstract

    The aim of this thesis was to explore how personality traits such as psychoticism and extraversion could be used to predict the effectiveness of implementation intentions when used to
    promote the use of Mathematics Support Centres within institutions of Higher Education. Study One aimed to firstly investigate if there were differences n personality and mathematical ability between students from different courses. Secondly, the study aimed to explain any relationship between personality and mathematical ability for undergraduate students.
    Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests were carried out and suggested that there were differences in mathematics diagnostic scores and psychoticism between students from different subject groups. Statistically significant correlations were found between mathematics diagnostics scores and psychoticism for Business studies (positive correlation) and Psychology negative correlations) students. The results suggest that students may benefit from differing methods of teaching mathematical concepts, especially in the cases where students are averse to working in
    groups and collaboratively. Study Two investigated the use of implementation intentions to increase the total time students spent engaging with mathematical study outside of formal
    lectures and seminars. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were carried out and suggested that implementation intention could be used to improve the total amount of time students
    spent engaged with mathematical study. Study Three looked at the use of implementation intentions to increase the use of the Mathematics Support Centre at Coventry University. The Aligned Rank Transform technique was used to facilitate the use of the analysis of variance test. Data suggested that the greatest increases in Mathematics Support Centre usage was by those who had intentions to use the support services regardless of whether implementation intentions had been formed or not. Forming implementation intentions did not appear to change the amount of time students spent using the Mathematics Support Centre.



    The main findings of the thesis are that implementation intentions were found to be ineffective in improving the amount of time students spend using the Mathematics Support Centre. It is suggested that this could be an individual’s perceived need to use the support services reducing the effectiveness of the implementation intentions ability shield the individual from the
    performance of behaviours that do not help reach the goal of improving mathematical ability. At present the biggest improvements in usage would be derived from improving awareness of the mathematics Support Services and helping students to realise the importance of the support. Future research needs to explore why this type of intervention does not appear to work in the context it was used and how it could be adapted for use as a viable strategy for increasing uptake of the support services.

    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorClare Wood (Supervisor), Duncan Lawson (Supervisor) & Sarah Critten (Supervisor)

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