Chapter Summary

This chapter introduced the study buddy activity as the object of this thesis investigation and outlined the historical and present contexts of the activity.  The chapter introduced two models of interaction that have previously been described in the literature and proposed a third model that could represent a synthesis of the previous models. Chapter I introduced the research questions and outlined the limitations and delimitations of the study. The chapter concluded with a discussion of several key terms related to the study.

Organization of the Thesis

This thesis consists of seven chapters beginning with the introduction to the context of the study and the research questions in Chapter I. Chapter II presents a review and discussion of the scholarly literature related to the theoretical foundation of the study. Important topics in the review of the literature are the nature of social constructivism as a learning theory; cooperative learning; a discussion of critical thinking, what it is, and how it can be fostered in higher education; and the idea of students’ approach to learning. Chapter III describes the method used to conduct the research, including a description of the characteristics of mixed methods research and a visual diagram of the structure of this investigation. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of how the quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed and merged into a unified conclusion. Chapter IV describes the analysis of the quantitative data with respect to the research questions. Chapter V is a description of the qualitative data analysis following phenomenological procedures. Chapter VI discusses how the quantitative and qualitative phases of the research were merged into a unified statement of the results. Chapter VII presents the conclusions of the research, recommendations for the implementation of the study buddy activity, and questions for further study.