Research & Development

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Applied Psychology – Emotional and Social Intelligence

Applied Psychology – Emotional and Social Intelligence

Through the Institute’s Centre for the Development of Emotional and Social Intelligence (CDESC), research in applied psychology is progressing with the overall aim of assessing the potential contribution of Emotional Intelligence (EI) to first year full-time learner academic performance and retention. 
International peer reviewed studies have shown that learners successfully progressing to second year have been found to be significantly higher in EI competencies than those withdrawing; other research findings indicate that emotional intelligence skills contribute greatly to student achievement and retention (Nelson and Low, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005). 
Moreover, studies suggest that University or College EI projects can allow students to receive the benefits of EI- centric guidance while faculties participating in EI-centric professional development gain skills required for engaging students in goal setting, achievement motivation, study skills and personal responsibility - all factors which have been shown to have a direct impact on student performance and retention.
CDESC’s current research project hypothesizes that (a) emotional competencies have a measurable impact on first year academic performance (as measured by end of year results) (b) poor emotional competencies contribute to poor student retention in first year and (c) intervention to improve emotional competencies in first year students improves student retention. 
To date a sample of 230 first year students in Carlow across all academic disciplines have participated either as part of an experimental group or control group. CDESC is leading this research with partners across two other Dublin Institutes of Technology, Tallaght and Blanchardstown, where another 100 first year students are participating. Results from this research is due to be published/presented at Higher Education research conferences in the academic year 2009-10.
CDESC, in cooperation with the Institute’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, is progressing with the development of an emotional and social intelligence culture, based on teaching pedagogies which suggest that EI is an important component of a learner’s personal and academic development (Mortiboys 2005, 2007). Projects ongoing include training and development for academic staff accreditation and coaching in EI, the development of an EI E-Portal accessible to all staff and students, the integration of EI into the curriculum as broad programme learning outcomes and specific module learning outcomes, and identifying the implications of EI for the National Framework of Qualifications in relation to the area of competence within the knowledge skills and competence paradigm.
Researcher Profiles
- Brian Bennett 
- John Sheehy
- Eileen Walsh