Learning beyond the classroom: using text messages to measure general chemistry students' study habits
This study used a series of text message inquiries sent to General Chemistry students asking: “Have you studied for General Chemistry I in the past 48 hours? If so, how did you study?” This method for collecting data is novel to chemistry education research so the first research goals were to investigate the feasibility of the technique and the evidence for validity of the data collected. The results showed that text messages provide ample data on students' study habits though initial participant recruitment may pose a challenge. This study also explored evidence for validity and found that the percent of students reporting studying peaked with each exam date matching the expected trend (content validity) and participants in the study had only small departures from the population of students at the setting (generalizable validity). Second, students' study habits were characterized using cluster analysis finding three clusters: students that knowingly do not study, students who describe mandatory course components as studying and students who study in addition to the mandatory course components. These student groups were compared on a common exam in the course with the last group out-performing those who knowingly do not study. Finally, student study habits were charted across the semester and show signs of adapting, possibly as a result of course expectations or course content.