Blog #1: Which Psychological Needs Are Most Highly-Correlated to Positive College Experiences

This year I will be working with Dr. Rostyslaw Robak on a research project entitled “Student and Faculty Perspectives: Which Psychological Needs Are Most Highly-Correlated to Positive College Experiences?” The purpose of this study is to provide insight into the psychological needs of college students as they are met within the courses they are taking. We will be working within the parameters of the “Self-Determination Theory,” specifically evaluating three needs: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

Our goal is to find correlations between student and faculty needs in relation to college success as a whole. Through an understanding of autonomy, competence, and relatedness as a predictor of course outcomes, we hope that our research will help improve overall student outcomes. We also intend to find which need is most highly-correlated to need satisfaction. While multiple older studies argue that competence is the most important, newer studies are finding evidence for autonomy. We are hoping to challenge these arguments with new findings of relatedness or other needs.

Our methods will include questionnaires containing basic psychological needs questions measured on a five-point Likert scale and a four-item course evaluation scale. We will ask random students enrolled at Pace University to fill out short questionnaires regarding their classroom experiences. Then we will ask Pace faculty to participate in the same survey so we can compare faculty and student responses. We will also ask open-ended questions like “where do u think your need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are met in school?” and “what do you look forward to doing every day?” This will help us determine which aspect of school has the highest correlation with student success outcomes. This will not only offer fresh insight into higher-education learning but will also help boost overall well-being in university settings.