Current Volume, Vol. 46, 2023

Peer Mentoring and Interaction Among Mature Students: A Qualitative Study

Cheyenne Downey, Caitriona Cunningham, and Conor Buggy

Using original qualitative data obtained through a series of online focus groups, and informed by a review of literature, this article examines peer mentoring and peer interaction amongst mature university students. A combination of students and recent alumni (n = 20), and student advisers (n = 10), from University College Dublin participated in the study. Inductive thematic analysis was applied to the data to generate three subthemes relating to the dominant peer-mentoring theme: the value of peer interaction, study groups as peer bonding, and resource implications for peer-mentoring schemes. Findings reveal that peer interaction and mentoring, including study groups, are highly valued by both mature students and student advisers. In conclusion, it is recommended that well-resourced peer-mentoring systems be developed and extended in higher-education institutions. [DOWNLOAD PDF]

“Food is not a Subject, it is Every Subject”: A Critical Reflection on a Scoping Consultation With Key Stakeholders on Developing Food Education in Irish Primary Schools

Michelle Darmody

This article offers a critical reflection on a scoping consultation held in 2019 to examine the opinions of key stakeholders in relation to the place of food education in the Irish primary-school curriculum. The 46 attendees included representatives from four government departments and several health- and food-related organisations. The event marked the coming together of a diverse and high-level group to consider how food education can be delivered in primary schools. Stakeholders’ views were collated in the form of audio recordings, feedback postcards, spectrum questions, and feedback sheets. Thematic analysis was applied to the data collected to generate six themes: policy change, aspects of food-education classes, role of teachers’ confidence, agency and assessment, health discourse, age of engagement, and engaging family. The article also offers insights into the process of conducting a qualitative research study. A broader aim of the event and research described is to encourage continued conversation between researchers, educators, policymakers, and food and health organisations on issues associated with drawing up a roadmap for embedded food education. [DOWNLOAD PDF]

Conducting Inter-Institutional Collaborative Replication Studies as Student Projects

Gillian Murphy & Ciara M. Greene

The replication crisis has had a profound effect on how we conduct research in psychology and relatedly, on how we train university students in research methods. In our teaching of psychological research methods, we may highlight to students that we, as a field, are striving to improve reproducibility and to reduce research waste. However, we often supervise these same students in conducting underpowered individual research projects. One solution is greater collaboration in student projects. In this reflective practice paper, we describe our experience in supervising an inter-institutional collaborative replication project. Eight Masters’ students collaborated in replicating the famous “Lost in the mall” false memory study, with a much larger sample than the original experiment. Each student contributed to the overall replication while also writing up an individual element. Here we describe the processes we used to manage the project and the lessons learned. We encourage other third-level educators to adopt these supervision methods, where appropriate, and conclude with some practical tips and resources for conducting collaborative replications with students. [DOWNLOAD PDF]

Translating Interventions From Research to Reality: Insights From Project Spraoi, an Irish Multicomponent School-Based Health-Promotion Intervention

Yvonne O’Byrne, Joan Dinneen, & Tara Coppinger

Project Spraoi (PS) is a school-based health-promotion intervention aimed at increasing physical activity (PA) and improving nutritional knowledge among primary-school children in Ireland. The study explored the fidelity of the intervention, namely, whether PS was delivered as intended, and examined the processes through which PS and each of the school contexts adapted to one another. Stakeholders, including teachers (n = 65), support staff (n = 22), Energisers – PA specialists tasked with leading change in the schools (n = 5), and children (n = 246), participated in the study. Quantitative data were collected through PA logs and questionnaires to assess the fidelity of intervention delivery. Process evaluation was undertaken based on three themes: implementation, context, and mechanism of impact, which were subcategorised into six evaluation dimensions. Qualitative data were collected through interviews, focus groups, and “write and draw” activities to elicit information about contextual barriers, facilitators, adaptations, and interactions. Results showed that intervention fidelity was low, and teachers delivered roughly 50-80% of the prescribed daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), on average. Common barriers identified were lack of time, curricular constraints, weather, and lack of support from school staff. Adaptations made to achieve better contextual fit included shorter activity breaks, cross-curricular games, and PA challenges and competitions. There was much variability in how PS was delivered and received, but adaptations that supported better contextual fit facilitated intervention delivery. The findings offer solutions to inherent contextual barriers when delivering health promotion interventions in primary schools. [DOWNLOAD PDF]