"Who does she think she is, eh?" : a discursive psychological analysis of in-group teasing in problem-based learning

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2016
Thesis identifier
  • T14365
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201285968
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centred pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through collaborative problem solving. While research has demonstrated the educational value of the approach, it has tended to neglect investigations into the group processes that are at the core of a group’s interactions: that is to say, we currently know quite little about how PBL actually ‘works’. As such, the current thesis is concerned with developing naturalistic research into PBL. The aim of this dissertation therefore is to demonstrate how the application of discursive psychology to PBL can contribute to our understanding of group interaction, by examining instances of teasing in groups, focusing on the impact this has for groups.Teasing is of interest to study in such settings due to its ambiguous nature as being both beneficial for and detrimental to groups. While some research purports it can foster cohesion and collegiality between group members, others demonstrate its link to increased depression and anxiety. However, such ‘functions’ of teasing are often methodologically questionable, and it can be unclear how the likes of cohesion or collegiality are actually constructed. In addition, this focus on teasing was of particular interest due to the methodological challenge of demonstrating what teasing actually is and how it plays out in interaction, and the difficulty of extrapolating it from other similar ‘processes’ such as bullying. Data is taken from eighty-five hours of student PBL meetings, encompassing thirty-one students across nine groups. The analytical focus is on teasing as an interactive process; demonstrating how, for instance, teasing can be a discursive device for identity construction, or how displays of accountability for transgressions are made relevant through teasing. Despite the negative connotations that accompany teasing, the dissertation aims to show the multi-functionality of such a process, thus providing further insight into the interactions that take place within PBL that are bound up in academic discourse.Past research has shown a discrepancy between self-reported and observed behaviour in groups, and so demonstrating the real-time interactions that take place in such environments is advantageous for us as educators to know more about what actually happens in PBL.
Resource Type
Embargo Note
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