The present study investigates the effect of group cohesion on academic success in undergraduate students in a semester-long group project. Students in Research Methods classes form small groups at the beginning of the semester and conduct experiments with their teammates throughout the course. Oftentimes, professors do not include any team-building interventions in their class sessions. However, research shows that a sense of group cohesion enhances group performance across various settings (e.g., on sports teams). The more cohesive a group feels both socially and professionally, the more likely they are to work together towards shared goals. This research aims to test whether interventions that are meant to enhance group cohesion in a classroom setting impact perceived and actual group and academic performance. At the beginning of the semester, two sections of Research Methods in Behavioral Science received a pretest survey to determine their baseline cohesion. Throughout the semester, students in the experimental class participated in three team-building interventions that involved answering three personal reflection writing prompts to fill out at home and bring to class. This technique is known as Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing (PDMS). On the intervention days, each group met and had a discussion in which they shared their personal answers with the group. The control group only received surveys throughout the semester that measured their cohesion. After the groups complete their projects at the end of the semester, each participant will fill out a posttest survey rating perceptions of cohesion within their group; in addition, we will collect students’ final grades to determine if the interventions had any significant effect on their performance. We expect that groups who participate in the interventions will have a greater perceived sense of cohesion with their team members, which will ultimately improve their academic performance.
Boyd, Olivia; Green, Erica; Burns, Andie; Nasch, Carly; Pickerell, Hannah; and Rosenberg, Benjamin D., "The Effect of Team-Building Interventions on Group Cohesion and Academic Performance" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 334.