Education - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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A content analytic study of the newspaper coverage of an educational controversy at Simon Fraser University.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

Tho purple or lh;;. r!-.?-s i j; was i.o lU'.srribe the newspaper coverage or a particular educational issue us in;; the methodology of content analysis. Because communication is vital to all educational activities, it is essential that educators be continually increasing their knowledge of this process in order to facilitate effective learning. For nearly two weeks in March of 1967, Simon Fraser University was the setting of an educational controversy that involved the administration, faculty and students. The conflict, which was initiated by the behavior of a group of teaching assistants, generated community-wide and province-wide interest. It was the coverage of this conflict by the local press that was examined in this study. It was hypothesized that the editorial attitude toward a specific issue would affect communication in the news columns concerning that issue. The newspaper reporter was considered a gatekeeper because he controls che flow of news in a communication channel. In order to obtain a general picture of the local press coverage of Simon Fraser University, it was necessary to examine the history of the relationship between the university and the newsmen. This was achieved through a story-count analysis of articles about Sixor. Fraser which appeared during the period from July, 1963 to March, 1967, inclusive. An analysis of the gatekeeping behavior of the newspapers involved an examination of the total related content flowing through the news channel and was accomplished by utilizing various content analytic methods. These were; contingency analysis, a qualitative IV procedure that seeks Lo cxar.M-.-.c the pro'oabil: ly Chat a specified symbol will be drawn r.iven that other spec i fii'd sy~.bo"l:; are in that or related units; evaluative assertion analysis, a quantitative procedure for ".ensuring the evaluative intensity and direction ot certain concepts; direction analysis, which involved determining the evaluative direction of each paragraph.; and a display index, which provided scores on the display variables that given one item prominence over another. A questionnaire was also given to the local education editors, in order to gain information about their background and duties. \snaile the results of the background analysis and the analysis of the gatekeeping behavior seemed to support the hypothesis they did not prove anything but only suggested that the gatekeeping behavior of these particular newspapers, in this paricular case, seeir.ed to have been effected by the editorial attitude. However, several variables were discussed which may have affected the results. These included: the social organization of the newsroom; the attitudes and perceptions of the reporter; selectivity; the physical production of the newspaper; the student press; polarization of the conflict; and the responsibility of the newspaper. It was suggested that education, as a discipline, must pay more heed to the role of communication in the educational process and must be prepared to support research in this area.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert J.C. Harper
Department: 
Education: Department of Behavioural Science Foundations
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Ed.

A study of student teachers' comprehending of instructional design.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

This study explored the active process of comprehending as it occurred in individuals as compared with a group, given a similar task involving carefully controlled and sequenced instructional material, Twelve student teachers, six as individuals and six as a group, were given the task of thinking aloud during the process of trying to discover the principles employed by I.A. Richards and Christine Gibson in their design of materials for beginning reading. The number and occasions of discovery were tabulated and compared. The utterances were then analysed and compared employing I.A. Richards' schema for comprehending. There were significant differences found between the comprehending of individuals and the group. Individuals tended to make discoveries by using various language strategies. Patterns of comprehending developed and then became fixated. The individuals tended not to recognize the successes they had made. In the group context comprehending developed over time. As the trials proceeded, the group returned to earlier successes and "errors" and amplified its discoveries; helping various members to make additional discoveries and validating those that members had made, The findings were related to studies in teaching., teacher education, group process and curriculum design. Present research literature indicates a concern for multi??iant, wholistic, contextual and process oriented studies in education. The "intelligencing" and "conceptualizing" powers of the person; the "evidencing" and "convincing" powers of instructional design; the "facilitating" and "validating" powers of social interaction have been suggested by this study as dimensions of the nexus condition for comprehending. Teachers who take responsibility for seeing that learning is brought about should take into account the nexus conditions as they operate in any learning situation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A.R. MacKinnon
Department: 
Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Ed.

Risk taking in individual and group decision making : problems of inquiry.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

The growing complexity of contemporary technological society leads to an ever increasing need to rely on the process of group decision making in preference to individual decision making. Since 1961, a considerable number of studies have been published which are concerned with the specific question of whether there exist differences in the degrees of risk taking between individual and group decisions. Most of these studies have been based on the administration of the so-called "dilemma-cf-choice" questionnaire -developed by Wallach and Kogan in 1959 - to various experimental subjects in laboratory settings. It appears that the major pertinent researchers who used that questionnaire have assumed that it adequately simulates complex real-life decision making. However, this assumption appears to be questionable. Most of the studies that have been conducted since 1961 have indicated that group decisions have a significant tendency to be riskier than the average of the individual decisions which were made by the members of the groups prior to the group decision making. On the other hand, some of these studies have indirectly thrown considerable doubts on these findings, and it would appear that the risky shift in group decisions may be an artifact which - iv - results from the particular manner in which the dilemma-of-choice questionnaire frequently has been administered. Because the dilemma-of-choice questionnaire, furthermore, does not seem to be a suitable instrument if used for the investigation of complex risk taking by individuals and groups, it would appear, then, that there exists a definite problem of inquiry. In order to arrive at a better understanding of the phenomenon of complex risk taking, a theoretical analysis of a number of major variables has been undertaken. This analysis shows that past attempts to deal with complex risk taking have not done justice to the enormous complexity of the phenomenon. Furthermore, the conceptual framework that has been used in the past is naive and does not help to achieve a proper assessment of complex risk taking. The present paper suggests a new definition of decision-making involving risk and offers a neuu language as well as new tools for the analysis of complex risk taking. The creation of a more sophisticated conceptual framework permits a fresh approach to the investigation of the phenomenon. It is furthermore shown that such investigations would have to be field rather than laboratory studies. However, the question of what constitutes a "risky" decision is so complex that an objective assessment of "riskiness" frequently will be difficult, if not impossible. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the nature of complex group decision making appears to be such that it might be impossible to say whether it differs in riskiness from individual decision making: Complex decision-making problems which would require group decision making are generally so involved that they would not allow for individual decision making to begin with. The conclusion is drawn that, for now and the near future, research into the question of differences in risk taking in complex individual and group decision making may barely be worth the effort. The only way out of this predicament appears to be to concentrate on the study of complex real-life risk taking by individuals. The results gained from such studies might conceivably enable us to develop, at some future time, methods for studying group risk taking so that it then might become possible to compare individual to group risk taking.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert J.C. Harper
Department: 
Education: Behavioral Science Foundations
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Ed.

Epistemology, cybernetics and uncertainty : philosophical observations on the work of Warren McCulloch and John Dewey

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

This thesis considers the application of information theory concepts to the problems of epistemology. It attempts to demonstrate that such formalistic concepts by nature must neglect the fundamentally behavioral aspects of thinking, Part I attempts to describe a predicament which is widely felt today, that of man's inability to control a world of his own making. It is then proposed that a comprehensive theory of human behavior is what is required to deal with the predicament. Part II compares the theory of "Experimental Epistemology" of Warren 5. McCulloch with the theory of "Inquiry" of John Dewey. Basically McCulloch's equation of sense data with information and his acceptance of negative feedback as explanatory of purposeful behavior is attacked. Further his assumption of Cartesian Dualism and attempts to resolve it through reductionism are considered in detail. Dewey's theory of "Inquiry" is proposed as a suitable alternative to explain how we gain warrantable assertibility as the foundation for our judgments of practice. His rejection IV of any general theory of reality and insistence upon the social cultural and behavioral aspects of thinking are noted. Part III considers the educational implications of both theories, by analyzing the kinds of choice they deal with and the consequent kinds of control they proffer. Educiational ends are proposed which recognize the human organism as a dynamic process, and requirements for means to such ends are stipulated

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Frederick J. Brown
Department: 
Education: Behavioral Science Foundations
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Ed.

A visual-motor test and a perceptual-reasoning test as discriminators of academic achievement.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

This study was designed to explore Che effects of visual perceptual abilities as determinants of school achievement and to provide some information about two tests in this area. Other aspects of achievement were also examined. The Bender Gestalt Test and the Raven Progressive Matrices (1947) were administered to two hundred and fifty-six children in kindergarten, grade one and grade two. One hundred and twenty-two children were classified as low achievers and one hundred and thirty-four as average achievers. .The effects of achievement level, grade level, age within grade, and sex, upon the children's visual perceptual performance scores were studied. The two achievement groups were examined to note similarities or differences in the children's date of birth, age within grade and sex. The results indicate that both the Bender Gestalt Test and the Raven Progressive Matrices discriminate significantly between children in the three grade levels and between children in the two achievement levels. Neither test significantly discriminated between male,and female or between young and old within the grades. Birthdate (May to August) did not relate significantly to achievement. Birthdate (September to January) did relate significantly to achievement as did age within grade. The sex of the children was also found to be significantly related to achievement' level. These results were discussed and implications for further research in the area of predictive visual perceptual screening devices were advanced. Implications for the study of the effects of sex, birthdate and age within grade on school achievement were also discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R.J.C. Harper
Department: 
Education: Behavioral Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Ed.