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Guest Seminar!

Quantitative-Substantive Synergies in Social Science

Presenter: Herb Marsh, Oxford University

Respondent: Raymond Debus, Sydney University

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 20 August 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

Venue: 351, Education Building (A35), The University of Sydney

Methodological-Substantive Synergies in Self-concept Research, by Herb Marsh

Professor Marsh’s self-concept research program represents a substantive-quantitative synergy, applying and developing new quantitative approaches to better address substantive issues with important policy implications. Self-concept enhancement is a major goal in many fields including education, child development, health, sport/exercise sciences, social services, organisational settings, and management. Self-concept is a multidimensional hierarchical construct with highly differentiated components such as academic, social, physical and emotional self-concepts in addition to a global self-concept component. Self-concept is also an important mediating factor that facilitates the attainment of other desirable outcomes. In education, for example, a positive academic self-concept is both a highly desirable goal and a means of facilitating subsequent academic accomplishments. However, the benefits of feeling positively about oneself in relation to choice, planning, persistence and subsequent accomplishments, transcend traditional disciplinary and cultural barriers. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of Professor Marsh’s self-concept research in which he addresses diverse theoretical and methodological issues with practical implications for research, policy and practice, such as:

  • Does a positive self-concept ‘cause’ better school performance or is it the other way around?
  • Why do self-concepts decline for (a) gifted students who attend selective schools and (b) for disabled students in regular classrooms?
  • Are multiple dimensions of self-concept more distinct than multiple intelligences?
  • Why do people think of themselves as ‘math’ persons or ‘verbal’ persons?
  • Can children as young as 5 or 6 distinguish between multiple dimensions of self-concept?
  • How different are the self-concepts of bullies and victims?
  • Does a positive physical self-concept lead to health-related physical activity?
  • Do self-concept models hold up cross-nationally and cross-culturally?
  • How do self-concepts of elite swimmers from 30 countries contribute to winning gold medals?
  • How did the fall of the Berlin Wall and the resumption of Chinese control of Hong Kong influence self-concepts?

Response, by TBA


RSVP required - p.brownlee@edfac.usyd.edu.au or phone 9351 2616

About presenters

Herb Marsh is Professor in Educational Studies at Oxford University. Prior to his appointment at Oxford he was Research Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Western Sydney where he served as Dean of Graduate Research Studies (1996-2000) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (1995-97). He founded and directed the Self-concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation (SELF) Research Centre that has 450 members including many of the top self-concept researchers in the world and satellite centres at leading Universities in Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia. His substantive interests span self-concept and self-esteem, achievement motivation, evaluation of teaching, peer review, and student achievement. His methodological interests are multi-level modelling, longitudinal modelling, meta-analysis, and construct validity. He is widely published with 350 articles in more than 70 different journals, 60 chapters, 14 monographs, and 350 conference papers; and co-edits the International Advances in Self Research monograph series. Professor Marsh's research has consistently attracted external funding, including a 100% success record on 24 proposals to the Australian Research Council during the last 25 years as well as more recent United Kingdom grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Higher Education Authority. In 2008 Professor Marsh was awarded the ESRC Professorial Fellowship which provides professorial salary, support staff and infrastructure for an extended research program, a highly competitive fellowship awarded to only 3-5 social science researchers across all of the UK.

Session archive

  • Session recording MP3 (TBA MB)
  • Presentation slides PDF (TBA MB)

References & recommended readings

  • TBA