Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Allen College--Students--Psychology; Nursing students--Iowa--Waterloo; Study skills--Iowa--Waterloo;


This research was designed to describe study approaches and study tactics used by baccalaureate nursing students. Previous inquiry indicates that students will take a Deep, Strategic, or Surface approach to studying and will use specific study tactics to meet the demands of their learning contexts.

The Approaches to Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) was administered to 174 students in Anatomy and Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Nursing Care of the Adult Client. Failing students were less likely to participate. The ASSIST bad acceptable internal consistency reliability and construct validity. A majority (55%) of students took a Strategic approach to studying; smaller proportions adopted Deep (26%) and Surface (19%) approaches. Deep and Strategic approach scores were positively correlated with final course grades, GPAs, study hours, and students' ratings of their course performance. Surface approach was negatively correlated with the aforementioned variables. Age was positively correlated with Deep approach, but negatively correlated with Surface approach. Strategic approach was negatively correlated with hours of paid work.

Study tactics were identified by interviewing 13 high, medium, and low achieving students. Students had varied conceptions of their learning contexts and what they did to prepare for exams. All students experienced lecture-style teaching methods and fact-based assessment. The predominant in-class activity was note-taking, conceptions of which were related to whether a note-taking handout was provided, year of study, and academic achievement. Year of study and academic achievement were related to what students did to prepare for exams and the number of study tactics they used, which ranged 1-5, the most frequent being notes review.

It is concluded that Deep, Strategic, and Surface study approaches are related to academic factors and academic achievement. There are relationships between students' conceptions of their learning contexts, what they do to learn and prepare for exams, year of study, use of study tactics, and academic achievement. Conclusions are limited by an under-representation of failing students. These findings have implications for the assessment and identification of students' study approaches. Additional research is needed to describe the study tactics students choose and to determine how those tactics relate to academic achievement.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Leigh Zeitz, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 244 pages)



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