Group Research Projects

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The Department of Educational Psychology is home to a number of group research projects. Here we note the two group research projects facilitated by Prof Gert van der Westhuizen:

Pathways to Resilience Research Project

The Pathways to Resilience Research Project is a mixed method, five-country (Canada, China, Colombia, New Zealand, and South Africa) collaborative project that investigates the social-ecological contributions to youths’ resilience across cultures. In South Africa, 1209 young people living in two rural areas in the Eastern Free State Provine participated. For more information see
South African team members: Prof Linda Theron (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Tamlynn Jefferis (North-West University, South Africa), Dr Angelique van Rensburg (University of Johannesburg, South Africa).

Extended Pathways to Resilience Research Project

We extended the Pathways to Resilience Research Project in South Africa among 424 Grade 8 learners living in the urban Sedibeng District, Gauteng Province.
Team members: Prof Linda Theron (University of Pretoria, South Africa) and Dr Angelique van Rensburg (University of Johannesburg, South Africa).

Academic Boredom

This study investigates the conceptualization, definition and operational boundaries, causes and antecedents of academic boredom, a negative academic emotion. The South African team aims to broaden the study on boredom to students in higher education institutions and employees in private and public organisations
Team Members: Dr Aman Dhir (University of Helsinki, Finland), Prof Kristi Lonka (University of Helsinki, Finland), Prof Ian Rothmann (North-West University, Optentia Research Focus Area, South Africa) and Dr Angelique van Rensburg (University of Johannesburg, South Africa).

Current Conversation Analysis Research

Projects The Department is growing its footprint and expertise in studies of educational and psychological interactions, drawing on the methodology traditions of Conversation Analysis and Discursive Psychology. This specialisation is being led by Associate Professor Gert van der Westhuizen. Projects and activities since 2009 include:

  • Eight Masters Students have completed their studies on conversations in educational and counselling/psychological support settings.
  • Current cohort of five students researching aspects of learning conversations.
  • Papers at various international conferences on reading comprehension conversations, conversations in life orientation classrooms, student learning conversations, mentoring conversations and conversations in professional learning. These include conferences of the Reading Association of South Africa, Discourse and Rhetoric Group, Education Association of SA, International Psychology Association.
  • Publications of academic articles by van der Westhuizen, Magano, Dunbar Krige.
  • Mentoring conversations research project in association with Leiden University (Dr. Harm Tillema), and colleagues at UJ: van der Merwe, Magano, Sedibe, Mabalane, and de Beer.
  • Hons Educational Psychology research projects utilising conversation analysis – 22 projects on various counselling and learning support interactions.
  • Regular meetings of the Conversation Analysis Research Group.