The study investigated the relative influence of note taking and group discussion method through experimental manipulations. The main objective of this study is to verify the relative influence of two study methods (note-taking and group discussion) on performance of student nurses on a test. A 3 x 2 x 2 factorial design was adopted for the study. The sample consisted of 96 students who were randomly selected from three experimental conditions (of 32 students from each school). Two of the groups were subjected to experimental manipulation while the third served as control group for the study. Training on note taking skill and group discussion study skill were given to the two experimental groups. The two experimental groups were again subjected to learning and using either of the two study methods exclusively for preparation for an examination that took place one week after the lectures and trainings. An examination on personal and environmental hygiene test was conducted to assess performance changes brought about by experimental manipulation. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and student’s t-test was used in order to test the eight hypotheses formulated for the study. Based on the principal findings that: The two study skills had influences on the students performance and that note taking group performance was significantly better than the discussion group recommendations were given. It was recommended that the teaching of study methods be included in the primary and secondary school curriculum to capture student during their formative years.



Background of the Study

Academic performance is the index used to determine how well educational objectives have been achieved. Education has been seen as the process of helping an individual to discover, develop and make use of his inner abilities, potentials and capabilities for successful living in the society. In this process, it is academic performance of individual that is used to infer academic success or failure (Seidler, 2007).

According to Dewey (2005), learning is intelligent development of all the possibilities inherent in experience. The ability to acquire and utilize these experiences he termed learning. The ability for effective learning can be improved upon through different ways and anything that can improve learning can improve academic performance.

Recent findings as presented by Nwabuisi (2004) and Selye (2004) have shown that there is only a thin line between learning outcome and study habits or methods. Good study method they said is a prerequisite for achieving academic excellence. Different people use different approaches during studying to achieve academic excellence. Dewey (2005) identified and outlined different study methods to include note taking while reading, organization of discussions groups or reading buddies, memorising, reading through and reciting.

These study methods have been used by students over decades. Several researchers (Ash and Carlton, 2003, Fisher, 2006, Udayton, 2008,) carried out surveys to determine the different study habits of students. From each of these surveys, 50% of the respondents prefer group discussion and 40% uses note taking while studying, and 10% do not have definite styles of studying .This goes to show group discussion and note taking as mostly used study styles.

The prime place of good study habit on academic performance among students cannot be under-estimated. Note is the students’ closest companion. It is the most readily available cue to the memory in the educational enterprise. Note taking is very much an integral part of the learning process; it converts the art of reading to the art of studying. It has been identified by many authors including Rimum and Master (2006); Coleman (2003); and Nweze (2004), as a means of achieving recall, reconstruction and utilization of learnt materials.

Group discussion method is a very helpful study style for some students. It is a round table tutorial class in which ideas, views and impressions are shared among the group. This also creates an avenue for problems on a particular subject to be solved collectively within the group.

Teachers, parents and counsellors over the years have been advising students to engage in one or two of these study styles in a bid to help them pass their examinations without sound basis. This work therefore seeks to ascertain the relative influence of the two study methods on academic performance of student nurses.

There is scanty of literature in nursing education in nursing students’ study habit and influence in their academic performance.  The present study will fill the gap in knowledge.