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Congrats to the 2020 Doctoral Student Research Grant Recipients!

Congratulations to the six Ed Psych Doctoral students who have been awarded Doctoral Student Research Grants (DSRG) for 2020! The DSRG is a competitive research grant which awards up to $1,500 for travel, payments to human research subjects, supplies, and other expenses.

We have provided each recipient’s research title and abstract below. We hope this initiates scholarly communication between recipients and other scholars. Make sure to follow our blog to stay up to date on their research! Add a comment to start a discussion about any of these research topics too!

Nicholas Ullrich

Research Title: Influence of Orthography on Coherence of Story Retells, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary Knowledge:  A Computer-based Storytelling Task

Nicholas Ullrich

Abstract: With the increasing use of multimedia platforms such as YouTube to facilitate storytelling, understanding how and when to integrate text with visuals would benefit both the creators of these platforms and the young readers viewing them. The dissertation aims to find out whether simultaneous text presentation accompanying auditory narration of a picture book facilitates comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. The proposed study examines the effect of orthography on vocabulary acquisition and narrative comprehension in early readers during a computer-based storytelling task. The research will test three hypotheses: (1) participants with access to the written text are expected to produce more coherent story retells as measured by the amount of causally important story elements present during a story retell session; (2) are expected to score higher on a reading comprehension measure assessing both factual and inferential comprehension; and (3) are expected to show better comprehension of the vocabulary in the stories.

Elizabeth Che

Research Title: Using Content Acquisition Podcasts to Foster Graduate Student Instructors’ Development in Teaching Workforce Skills

Elizabeth Che

Abstract: This proposal outlines an intervention to teach graduate student instructors how to implement employable skills in their courses through the use of content acquisition podcasts. Prior work identified that teaching workforce relevant skills (e.g., working in groups and leadership, information literacy, reading, research methods, self-management, technology skills, writing) is associated with various clusters of instructional methods (e.g., active, direct, interactive, research) and instructors’ value of student autonomy (Che et al., 2020). Many graduate student instructors report a lack of access to pedagogical training, may be teaching trial by fire, (Alsop, 2018) and may not be using the most effective methods to teach employable skills. This project aims to create a series of content acquisition podcasts embedded into an online survey to help instructors teach workforce relevant skills in their courses, assess interest in using the described instructional methods, and identify obstacles for teaching employable skills.

Maya Rose

Research Title: Does Speaking Improve Comprehension and Processing of Turkish as a Foreign Language? A Computer-Assisted Language Learning and ERP Study

Maya Rose

Abstract: We explore whether the “testing” effect, indicating benefits of retrieval practice for learning, extends to foreign language comprehension. Using a computer-assisted language learning protocol, we present adult learners with Turkish dialogues paired with corresponding pictures. The sentences exemplify features of Turkish nominal morphology, including number and case marking and allomorphic variation in suffixes. Learning tasks vary by experimental condition: Group 1 engages in retrieval practice, generating spoken sentences in response to questions; Group 2 engages in listen and repeat, repeating answers to questions; Group 3 engages only in comprehension, selecting pictures that match the answers to questions. Following training, all groups are tested on comprehension of familiar and novel sentences and vocabulary. After refresher training, we use event-related potentials to assess learners’ sensitivity to errors in number and case marking. Data analyses explore potential interactions between learning conditions and aptitude (working memory, nonverbal intelligence) with implications for foreign language instruction.

Ming Chen

Research Title: Animations Versus Comics: How Visual Modality Influences Adolescents’ Responses to an Advanced Theory of Mind Task

Ming Chen

Abstract: Theory of Mind (ToM), the ability to infer about others’ beliefs and desires, is essential for successful social activities (Liddle & Nettle, 2007; Wellman et al., 2001), and adolescence is a significant period of ToM development. To measure adolescents’ advanced ToM (aToM), the Flexibility and Automaticity of Social Cognition task (FASC; Hayward, Homer, & Sprung, 2018) and its digital online version (Brodsky et al., 2019) was developed, which solicit adolescents’ thoughts on pictures depicting social scenarios. Additionally, an automatic tool for coding participants’ FASC responses (Bergson et al., 2019) has been developed. This study aims at developing an animation version of the FASC and comparing it with the digital comic version in relation to the participants’ responses by using the aforementioned automatic coding tool. I hypothesize that when explaining the social scenarios in the FASC, participants will use more mental state terms and have more common first responses with the animated FASC task compared to the digital comic version.

Aleksandra Kazakova 

Research Title: The influence of paternal factors, such as mortality status, residency and involvement in a child’s life, on vocabulary skills of the US children at age three, five and nine

Aleksandra Kazakova

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine whether paternal factors describing the degree of fathers’ presence in a child’s life directly affect child’s vocabulary skills. This study will utilize the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing data to examine the relationship between child’s vocabulary outcomes (at age three, five, and nine) and biological father’s mortality status, paternal residence, and father’s involvement in child’s development. In case of the significant relationship between independent variables and vocabulary skills, the next step will involve further analysis of the influence of the paternal factors in terms of its change with time from year three, five to year nine. The anticipated outcome of this research may help educators to become more sensitive to additional uncontrollable factors impacting language development. Besides well-studied demographical variables – gender, ethnicity, and family income – paternal components may also have a significant contribution, deserving special attention of researchers and educators.

Fedor Marchenko 

Research Title: Negotiating values of host society while working as barista in third-wave coffee shops of New York

Fedor Marchenko

Abstract: This proposal advocates for an exploratory study of third-wave coffeeshops of New York understood as informal learning environments where young immigrant baristas (18-27) negotiate values of host society. Working as a barista is an activity where recent immigrants learn to integrate local values from day-to-day interactions with equally implicit business-specific values.  Various sets of values promoted by coffee businesses might prompt newcomers to reflect on the society and their place in it as this kind of employment brings them into direct contact with a range of individuals.  With previously completed values analysis of 16 mission statements of coffee shops in New York City, I demonstrated that businesses with various size target different ethical discourses regarding coffee industry and role of coffeeshops in the life of communities. I advocate for further investigation with a sample (N=30) of immigrant baristas to unpack the value negotiation process that they enact through their work.

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