The Effects of Self-Monitoring on the Frequency of Aspects of Study Behavior

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Previous research has indicated that self-monitoring, observing and recording one's behavior, has proved effective in helping individuals modify some behaviors; however, other studies have shown no behavior change as a result of self-monitoring. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of self-monitoring on writing answers to questions, one of the steps of the SQ4R method of study. The effects of self-monitoring were measured by observing study behavior. Less direct measures of study behavior, self-recorded behavior, self-report inventory scores, and examination scores, were examined to determine the relationship between observed study behavior and these measures which have been used in previous studies. Forty-six undergraduate student volunteers were randomly assigned to either the treatment or to the control group. All students completed the items which comprise the SH score of the Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes, received information on the SQ4R method of study, watched a demonstration of the application of SQ4R, then demonstrated that they could apply the study method to a selection of reading materials. All students received copies of questions formulated by the experimenter on the content of a textbook that was required reading for an English course. Students were instructed to read the chapter to answer the questions that were provided, recite the answers in their own words, then write the answers, using only key words. Students were instructed to answer a certain number of questions each week, and were told there would be an examination in four weeks. Information was not provided to the students that the answer sheets would be collected after four weeks, and that judges would rate the quality and quantity of their answers. Students who were assigned to the self-monitoring group received report forms on which they were instructed to record daily the number of questions to which they had written answers; the forms were collected each week. The control group received the same goals, questions, and instructions as the self-monitoring group, except they were not instructed to record the number of questions to which they had written answers. The results indicated that the self-monitoring group wrote a significantly greater number of answers to questions than did the control group (p < .05). This corroborates previous reports which have shown that self-monitoring is an effective technique for producing behavior change. The findings were interpreted as suggesting that post-behavior self-monitoring is an effective technique for increasing the frequency of students' application of certain principles of effective study. There was no significant difference between self-recorded behavior reports and judges' reports of study behavior. This was interpreted as suggesting that self-recorded study behavior is an adequate criterion measure of actual study behavior. There was no significant difference between the examination scores of the two groups. This was interpreted as suggesting that changes in one aspect of study behavior, writing answers to questions on the material, has little or no relevance to academic achievement. There was no significant difference between the SH post-test scores of the two groups. This measure indicated no changes in study behavior; this is in contrast to the judges' reports and the self-recorded behavior record forms which did indicate change. This was interpreted as suggesting the l east inferential approaches to collection of data on study behavior, judges' reports of behavior and self-recorded behavior, are preferable to the more inferential approach of using self-report inventory scores.