The project uses a cross-sectional research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [observational], associative/correlational [quasi-experimental], and causal [experimental, quasi-experimental, statistical modeling]. Original data are being collected on beginning undergraduate students using assessments of learning, survey research [self-completion questionnaires], and laboratory based experiments. Interventions being tested include attentional scaffolding (Study 5) and writing-based self-relevance (Study 6).
Instruments or measures include self-rating-based questionnaires, responses to probes to assess the occurrence of mind-wandering during learning, computer-administered measures of cognitive abilities (such as working memory capacity and executive functions), responses to comprehension questions assessing the understanding and retention of lecture materials, and course grades and exam scores. The project is employing correlation/regression analysis using multilevel modeling, multivariate analysis such as confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling.