The Effect of Teaching-Learning Strategies on Academic Achievement in Thesis Development: A Mixed Study in an Undergraduate Management Program in Peru

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Developing a thesis requires a complex combination of research capacities, advisor orientation, personal commitment, and field opportunities. Most undergraduate students struggle to find a feasible research question, devise a proper methodological design, conduct fieldwork, analyze the information and write the report. Understandably, many of them show a weak performance in research seminars and often procrastinate their research projects. These courses address a variety of pedagogical strategies aimed at fomenting students’ understanding of the research process and methodological choices. Teaching strategies typically include research methods orientation, supporting resources and tools, and advisor guidance. In turn, learning strategies often include workload and time distribution, use of additional resources, and search of supplementary orientation. Although several studies have determined how effective are some of these strategies, very few have examined a comprehensive set of them. This research expands and deepens a previous work presented in INTED 2021. The general purpose is to examine the effectiveness of the pedagogical strategies used in research seminars. The specific goals are: (1) to understand the variety of strategies and level of application, (2) to analyze to what extent their use varies according to the students’ profile, (3) to determine which strategies have a higher effect on academic performance, and (4) to know the students’ motivations for adopting certain combinations of them. The research design included first a quantitative component, based on a survey to two groups of students of a management program at a university in Peru: 125 of Research Seminar 1 (aimed at developing the research proposal) and 122 of Research Seminar 2 (aimed at doing fieldwork, writing and defending the thesis). In the regression model, the independent variables were the teaching-learning strategies, and the dependent variable were the final grades obtained in both courses. The qualitative component involved three focus group with some of these students. The data analysis corresponding to the former course revealed that four strategies determine the students’ academic performance: methodology literature assignment, clear course structure, fluid professor-student communication, and students’ work planning and accomplishment. Regarding the latter course, three strategies showed this effect, though at very low levels: proper communication, work organization and thesis defense preparation. The thematic analysis of the qualitative information showed that, although in the first seminar students heavily rely on the structure and supervision provided by professors, in the second seminar the responsibility of organizing and completing the research relies on the students themselves. Moreover, the students highlighted the importance of having good communication with and timely feedback from the professors as well as of contacting several experts to gain additional analytical leverage. This research bears valuable implications for the key stakeholders in this context. The study elucidates the rationale of integrating teaching-learning strategies, and provides insights that may be useful for program directors to improve the design of these courses. Furthermore, it offers an array of effective strategies, some of them stressed by the students themselves, that may be advantageous for both professors and students.
Original languageSpanish
Title of host publication16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 8 Mar 2022

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