I am currently taking a course in data management and visualization. As part of the course, I am required to keep a blog sharing my experiences. So I am using DocReads to share my findings!

Course 1

Assignment 1

I will be using the dataset from the AddHealth study. Specifically, I will be looking at two variables: conflict resolution training and happiness in school. I am interested only in middle school students, grades 7 and 8.

My research question:
Is there an association between conflict resolution training and happiness in school for middle school students?

My hypothesis:
After examining several recent studies, I believe that there will be a positive correlation between conflict resolution and perceived happiness with school for middle school students.

Literature Review:

Gillies, R. M., & Boyle, M. (2010, 05). Teachers' reflections on cooperative learning: Issues of implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 933-940. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2009.10.034

In this study, teachers reflected on the experiences they had with implementing cooperative learning (CL) into their classrooms. According to Gillies and Boyle (2010), CL is a "well documented pedagogical practice that promotes academic achievement and socialization" (p. 933), but teachers continue to struggle with fully implementing it into their instruction. Roadblocks to success include: inappropriate socializing, lack of time management, lack of planning, improper group composition, and lack of social skills training. Specifically, the authors identify the need for students to be able to resolve conflict before it derails the progress of the group.

So we know that students working together is a research-based practice that promotes learning. We also know that students in this study did not possess the social skills (including conflict resolution) needed to participate in CL. There is a gap that needs to be addressed.

Parker, A. K. (2010, 01). A Longitudinal Investigation of Young Adolescents’ Self-Concepts in the Middle Grades. RMLE Online, 33(10), 1-13. doi:10.1080/19404476.2010.11462073

Parker (2010) studied 78 middle school students as they entered and then completed middle school. Specifically, Parker looked at five domains of self-concept (academic, social, emotional, physical, and athletic). She found that adolescents initially experience an increase in self-concept, followed by a decline. A key component of this decline is the social self-concept, which she states "...impacts adolescents’ interactions with peers and teachers, their approach to conflict resolution, and their acclimation to the classroom social environment" (p. 3).  

We see here that a positive self-concept (which we can equate with "happiness") is directly related to social interactions, including approach to conflict resolution. So if we can improve conflict resolution skills, we should be able to impact happiness.

Lee, J. (2013). The Effects of Children's Temperament, Parent-child Communication Styles, and Peer Relationships on Children's Happiness. Korean Journal of Human Ecology. (22)5. 433-445. 10.5934/kjhe.2013.22.5.433

In this study, Lee (2013) investigated "the effects of children's temperament, parent-child communication, peer relationships on children's cognitive and affective happiness" (para 1). There were two important findings that directly correlate to my research question: 1) there is a positive association between happiness and peer relationships, and 2) peer relationships were found to be the most influential factor in cognitive and affective happiness.

In the literature, there is definitely a pattern emerging that shows a positive relationship between happiness (at least perceived) and positive social relationships. My hypothesis is that conflict resolution skills improves friendships, leading to an increase in happiness.

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