Examining and Supporting Domain Identification and Student Interest in First Year College Students
Ruff, Chloe Besse
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Students entering college with a pre-selected major have often developed some beliefs and knowledge related to their major. Domain identification (DI) and interest are two constructs that could be particularly useful to researchers and practitioners examining the first year experiences of college students within their prospective major. This dissertation examines how first year college students and their professors perceive DI and interest in a prospective science major within the context of courses designed to introduce students to their major. This dissertation uses a manuscript format to examine DI and interest through theoretical analysis and the lived experiences of first year college students and their professors. The theoretical manuscript (Chapter 3) compares the theory and research supporting Osborne and Jones' model of DI as well as Hidi and Renninger's (2006) and Krapp's (1999, 2002) models of interest development. The two empirical manuscripts (Chapters 4 and 5) qualitatively explore perceptions of first year college students and their professors by focusing on the following areas: (a) first year college students' perception of their DI and interest in their prospective major, (b) professor's perceptions and support for their first year students' DI and interest in a prospective science major, and (c) the similarities and differences between these perceptions. Taken as a whole, the findings of these manuscripts highlight the theoretical and practical distinctions between the two constructs. Although the models are similar in framing DI and interest as value-based concepts that develop through experience, they each possess a distinct theoretical framing and definition for value. This distinction between the value components of DI and interest is emphasized in the students' descriptions of their current major's relevance to their future goals and aspirations. Themes emerging from both of the qualitative studies are generally consistent with Osborne and Jones' (2011) model of DI; however, the findings of these studies did not fully align with Hidi and Renninger's (2006) model of interest. The comparison of student and faculty perceptions provided support for some methods the professors used to encourage the development of DI and interest in their students.
- Doctoral Dissertations