Embedded study skills & student attainment

Analysing the effects of embedded study skills on first year undergraduate attainment

Team members: Philip Cook, Andrew Thompson, Carmen Gebhard


We propose to analyse the effect of embedding study skills on student attainment and practice. This project is designed to support the development of the new pre-honours study skills courses in SSPS (the ‘Fundamentals’ programme); and also address wider issues of how best to help students learn new skills. This is important both to the particular issue of supporting students make the transition to university successfully; and also to the wider pedagogical and practical issue of how to teach skills across the curriculum.

The project looks at the case of the Politics and International Relations Fundamentals course, which has been designed to embed skills training, focusing on essay writing and exam writing for the core first year course ‘Introduction to Politics and International Relations’ (IPIR). Around half the students on IPIR are taking IPIR only, and the other half taking IPIR plus Fundamentals 1. We therefore have the basis for a quasi-experimental design to compare the two cohorts.

The project team includes the convenors of Fundamentals 1, IPIR, and a professor of statistical methods in PIR. The project also aims to study the effect of a highly formative approach to study skills teaching and explore the effectiveness of delivering this through a blended learning approach.

The grant will pay for a suitable qualified PGR student to help with data collection and analysis. The findings will be publicised widely and will feed directly into the ongoing development of Fundamentals in SSPS and study skills teaching more broadly.

Final project report

Download the final project report (PDF)