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Politics and International Relations (PIR): News


Principal's Teaching Award Winners present their research Wednesday

Two teams of researchers based in PIR will present their research at the PTAS Forum on Wednesday 15 June.

The Principal's Teaching Award Scheme supports research into teaching at Edinburgh.  On Wednesday, as part of a full-day forum (more information), two teams of PIR researchers will be presenting their research:   

Embedded study skills & student attainment: Analysing the effects of embedded study skills on first year undergraduate attainment

Team members: Philip Cook, Andrew Thompson, Alice Dias-Lopes

We analysed the effect of embedding study skills on student attainment and motivation. The project focused on a study skills programme offered to students taking a core undergraduate course in Politics and International Relations. We gathered data on student engagement with the programme and attainment results, comparing those who participated with those who opted-out. We included data on socio-economic background as recorded in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. We developed multiple regression and multivariate response models to analyse this data. Our findings suggest that this intervention has a positive effect on the attainment of those students who took the study skills programme and who were from more socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Our data also suggest that the levels of engagement were considerably improved on a previous version of the programme that was not embedded in a course. We present our data and findings, and reflect on their significance for our policies towards study skills development, and in particular on whether our approach to study skills should be more informed by the effects of students’ socio-economic background.

Social Media: enhancing teaching & building community?

Team members: Sara Dorman, Luke March, Gareth James. 

In this project we compared the experience of Facebook groups as used in Russian Politics teaching (Russia and Wider Europe) and Twitter as used in African Politics teaching (@afr_pol), where they are used in addition to the provision of a Learn page for each course. We were particularly interested in exploring whether and how social media helps mediate the relationship between student learning experiences and their desire for ‘more community’, and to what extent this complements or conflicts with the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). 

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