Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INTERESTS (Lost in Transition? Multiple Interests in Contexts of Education, Leisure and Work)
Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2020-04-30
Where interest research has shown positive effects of interest on learning and engagement, it is not clear when and how adolescents continue and consolidate their interests. Instead of the common focus on single and predefined interest domains (e.g. science) and contexts (e.g. science class), the proposed study focuses on individuals’ complete and longer term trajectories of interest development in and beyond education.
The aim is to develop new theory on how an individual develops multiple interests in and across multiple contexts of participation (e.g. school classes, family, peers, leisure, work), leading to a comprehensive picture of dynamics within a person. I will investigate the effects of these dynamics on interest continuation and consolidation, with particular attention for the vulnerable transitions to postsecondary education and to early career.
The study is designed as a longitudinal investigation of individual trajectories of 600 adolescents, tracking the way each adolescent spends time on existing or emerging interests in and across different contexts, and in parallel, tracking their successive choices in education and career. A complementary smaller-scale investigation is focused on the weighing of interests while making choices in relation to perceived past and projected future. A smartphone application called inTin was specifically designed for the proposed study, functioning as a method that triggers individuals to make repeated reports of their interest-related interactions. Resulting data will require combining latest statistical techniques for within-subject and longitudinal analyses.
Besides approach, we also combine various types of innovative data collection instruments, including 1) a so-called experience sampling method for moment-to moment reports across daily life contexts, 2) complete social networks of adolescents in schools, with - on a smaller scale - 3) a multi-site ethnography to understand how adolescents’ various life contexts impact one another. In analysis, we also have decided to experiment with a new yet unconventional technique of ‘text mining’. With experts from computer science, we are now developing a natural language processing tool for handling all the personal interests and interest report data. This technique is intended to reveal new ontological structures across adolescents’ interests.