Nottingham Trent University

How TSR Insight helped Nottingham Trent University conduct large-scale, quantitative, psychological research on A-Level students.

The ask

The Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU)  was awarded funding by the British Academy to undertake research on A-Level students to explore the impact of parents' and carers' motivational messages on this cohort.

Having conducted previous research into the impact of motivational messaging and fear appeals (2014, 2015, 2016), Nottingham Trent University wanted to understand how students perceive a variety of parental motivational messaging styles, including consequences, reassurance, pride/approval and behaviour reminders (e.g. reminding them to revise). TSR Insight worked with NTU to provide the information they needed to get ethical approval for the methodology, an audience for the quantitative research, and a sample size adequate for the planned statistical analysis.

The solution

The NTU team had developed a series of questions but needed access to many A-Level students.

TSR Insight provided the audience from The Student Room community and facilitated the online survey, which went live in March 2022. A follow-up is scheduled for October/November 2022 that adds academic buoyancy/resilience and ethnicity to the range of variables studied.

The research was called "Worrying or motivating? Students' experiences of their parents' motivational messages".

"We were looking for an organisation that could get us a large-number of replies (n=2000) from school-aged children to our research questionnaire.

We had a team on the ground visiting schools one-by-one but while this method creates very useful and valuable relationships with specific schools, the method is labour-intensive and only achieves a small number of responses."
- Richard Remedios, Associate Professor in Student Motivation and Engagement, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

"We really enjoyed working with TSR Insight. Our contacts responded speedily and there were frequent meetings to clarify specific terms of reference. We found the team to be flexible and gave us feedback/ideas we found useful. I really hope I can work with TSR again. They have been excellent partners."
- Richard Remedios, Associate Professor, Nottingham Trent University

The value

The research helped NTU glean valuable data-led insights about how students’ experiences of their parents’ motivational messages are related to students' motivation and performance.

The findings from phase one of the study revealed correlations between the different motivation styles and A-Level students' anxiety, mastery, self-efficacy and expected grades. Particularly interesting was a negative correlation between students wanting to make their parents proud and anxiety levels i.e., the more students wanted to make their parents proud, the more they worried.

Key benefits:

  • Access to a large, difficult-to-obtain audience: 1393 participants took part (mean age 17)
  • Anonymised data files
  • Quick turn-around

NTU's feedback about working with TSR Insight and The Student Room:

"I have experience working with schools delivering sessions and giving out research questionnaires.

The final sample sizes have always been adequate but rarely what would be considered large-scale.

It was very pleasing to see the large sample size achieved in the first tranche of recruitment by TSR Insight.

There is no way we would have been able to achieve the sample size we needed without TSR Insight."

- Richard Remedios, Associate Professor in Student Motivation and Engagement, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

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