Voices of Southern: Nikki Bramwell, ‘19 | Secondary Education major

First place – Education; Best Overall Presenation | 2019 Student Research Symposium

Research is a versatile tool that every student needs to have in their toolbox.

As a freshman in the Honors Program here at Missouri Southern State University, I remember learning that I would need to complete a senior thesis project to graduate with honors. I was intimidated and had no idea what to expect, and I chose to put off thinking about my own research ideas.

I did not begin to fully understand the significance and effects of research until I was in my junior block of the education program.

I learned that to be an effective teacher, there needs to be an understanding of past research in education, theories and best practices. Research helps educators determine which instructional strategies are most effective in classrooms.

This idea of research-based instructional strategies led me to the idea of using my senior thesis to test the effectiveness of study strategies. I narrowed down my research to “Effects of Highlighting and Summarizing on Reading Comprehension.”

How has research been a versatile tool for me? Research sharpened my mind. I learned about theoretical frameworks, literature reviews, data analysis and how to decipher past research.

Research also chisels away at the rough edges of misinformation and misconceptions. When I conducted my own study, I refuted the popular idea that highlighting is not an effective study strategy.

I tested 41 college students and found that highlighting is beneficial with shorter time limits and for texts of 650- 700 words. Summarizing is a crucial skill, but my research suggests students need longer time limits to complete the process and to be taught effective summarization techniques.

When conveying the importance of research to students and giving students various opportunities to practice research, MSSU has nailed it.

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