Title page for ETD etd-0117102-140940

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tradewell, Golden M.
URN etd-0117102-140940
Title An Exploratory Case Study of the Social Interactions among Baccalaureate Nursing Students in a Cooperative Group Learning Environment
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Becky Ropers-Huilman Committee Chair
Barbara Fuhrmann Committee Member
Charles Teddlie Committee Member
Jan Hinson Committee Member
David Smyth Dean's Representative
  • nursing education
  • professional development
  • cooperative group learning
  • social interactions
  • baccalaureate nursing students
Date of Defense 2001-12-10
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this research was to explore the social interactions among baccalaureate nursing students in a cooperative group learning environment. The following research questions were formulated to guide the research: (1) In a cooperative group learning environment, how do the social interactions among baccalaureate nursing students influence their course content learning? (2) In a cooperative group learning environment, how do the social interactions among baccalaureate nursing students influence their professional development? Students enrolled in an upper division nursing program were selected for this study. Age, gender, and ethnicity were considered in placing students in five groups.

Data included student journals, interviews, and observations using protocols to form a case study database. Using grounded theory, data were analyzed using Lincoln and Guba's (1985) constant comparative method and Spradley's (1980) componential analysis method. Using Moreno's (1934/1953) network analyses, sociometric indices were done on the social interactions. The mean numerical final exam scores for each group were used to triangulate data quantitatively.

Sociometric indices revealed that social interactions of students working in groups have a moderate to high influence on learning of the course content and a moderate influence on professional development. Themes influencing students' learning of the course content related to shared knowledge, teamwork, group structure, and group activity. Themes impeding students' learning related to student relationships, ineffective group activities, and lack of student involvement. Themes influencing professional development related to role development, interpersonal relationship skills, teamwork, and shared knowledge. Themes hindering professional development related to ineffective group activities, inappropriate interpersonal relationship skills, and lack of student involvement. Final course grades were not significantly different.

Results of this study indicate some students' professional development is promoted by working in groups. Future studies focusing on the outcome measurements of knowledge development and professional socialization from other learning theories, such as problem-based learning and web-based learning, are recommended.

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