Empirical Article Review

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Summary of Article The study presented compares the effects of structured and unstructured cooperative learning groups on the behavior, discourse and learning of junior high school students. The study was conducted using actual observation, videotaped observation, and a science probe questionnaire.One hundred and sixty-four ninth grade students worked in cooperative learning groups during a science-based lesson that employed cooperative learning techniques. The activity required students to apply the scientific principle of classification of living things to a non-science activity. The groups were composed of three to four mixed-gender, mixed-ability students.Behavioral, Verbal Interaction, and Cognitive Language Strategy data were gathered through an observation tool in which observers recorded the number of times desired behaviors and discourse were observed. Learning data was gathered using of a science probe that asked students six levels of questions designed to determine how students were relating knowledge learned in their science class to the non-science based classification activity. The following review describes the details and outcomes of this study. Research Question Investigated The study was designed to answer the following research question: What are the differences in how students behave, interact and learn while working in cooperative learning groups that are structured as opposed to those that are unstructured during a science-based learning activity Variables The independent variable in this study was naturally occurring. The unstructured and structured groups were established before the study. Therefore, the research design is causal-comparative. The variables involved in this study are d... ... middle of paper ... ...perative learning techniques). In addition, several threats to the generalizability (external validity) are present including non-representativeness of the subjects, and setting-treatment interaction (results may have been different in other settings and with other subjects). In addition, the study doesn’t indicate the effects cooperative learning has on individual students as only group results were measured. While the study presented is consistent with previous research and does present correlation between the variables investigated, further research should be conducted using an experimental versus causal-comparative method of research. Works Cited Gilles, Robyn M. (2008). The Effects of Cooperative Learning on Junior High School Students' Behaviours, Discourse and Learning During a Science-Based Learning Activity. School Psychology International 2008; 29;328

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