Interested in bringing a discussion of research into your student success or developmental course? Try Dr. Christine Harrington’s activity, below.

1. Find a brief and meaningful article (such as the article below on the 3R reading technique) on a topic related to your course.

McDaniel, M., Howard, D., & Einstein, G. (2009). The read-recite-review study strategy: Effective and portable. Psychological Science, 20(4), 516-522. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02325.x.

2. Provide students with an overview of the study, keeping it very basic. With the article example above, focus on how the researchers compared re-reading a passage, taking notes on a passage, and using the 3R (read, recite, review) technique.

3. Engage students through the use of prediction. Have them work in pairs or small groups to guess which of the three approaches worked the best.

4. Next, have students work in small groups to read the abstract and discussion section (this is the easier than the results section and doesn’t include the statistical information). This can be done as an in class or out of class activity. As they read, they should seek the answer to this question: Which approach worked the best?

Bring everyone back together for a large group discussion focusing on the key finding of the article. In this example, students who used the 3R or Read-Recite-Review method performed the best on fact based questions and students using the 3R and note-taking methods performed the best on problem solving tasks. The 3R strategy was also the least time consuming approach.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, help students take what they have learned and apply it to their daily practices. Start with a discussion about how to do this but then move into action. With this example, you can have students practice the 3R reading technique in class and report out on their experience.

Dr. Christine Harrington is a Professor of Psychology and Student Success and Director of the Center for the Enrichment of Learning and Teaching at Middlesex County College in NJ. She is also the author of a new research-based freshman seminar textbook, Student Success in College: Doing What Works! Prior to teaching full time, she worked in the Counseling and Career Services Department, providing disability services and career, academic, and personal counseling. You can also visit Dr. Christine Harrington’s website.


Continue the conversation! Share your ideas for integrating research or research articles into your student success courses in the comments section below, or send them to [email protected].