1 Universidad de Zaragoza (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Pontifica Comillas (SPAIN)
3 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
4 Centro Universitario Cardenal Cisneros (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Page: 105 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.0049
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Writing and defending academic texts (e.g., Master thesis) is a compulsory requirement to earn a degree. This task involves very specific competencies including the use of writing guidelines, expressing ideas based on previous studies while not committing plagiarism, and discussing the results with an evaluating audience. The correct use of APA guidelines when writing academic texts seems to be particularly challenging for students, often delaying their work and causing them medium to high levels of anxiety. Our study describes an educational intervention conducted under a teaching innovation program via Instagram. For the purpose of this educational intervention, an Instagram account (@apa_rte) was created, and the educational intervention took place via that account. The account is open and nowadays followed by about 1000 followers mostly from Spain but also from other Spanish-speaking countries. Most followers are students but teachers have become increasingly interested in the account and there are about 20 of them following @apa_rte.

The study follows a pre-post intervention, quasi-experimental design with an experimental group of students who followed the educational intervention and a control group who did not take part of the intervention. The educational intervention lasted 20 weeks during which students in the experimental group participated in weekly quizzes regarding the use of the APA format. They also received information about APA by posts and interacted with the Instagram account in different ways (e.g., Q&A sessions).

Data were collected at two time points (i.e., pre-intervention, post-intervention). A total of 223 students completed the questionnaires at both points of time and, in the case of those in the experimental group, followed the intervention. Most of the participants were psychology or education undergraduate students (90.37%), 9.63% were Masters’ students, and 83.49% were women. The questionnaires included the following measures: a) APA competence: objective test formed by 10 multiple answer questions that register competence to use APA style for in-text citing and referencing; b) Self-efficacy for writing and defending academic texts: this scale consists of eight items, five of them related to writing self-efficacy and three of them to self-efficacy in relation to the public defense of academic work (Collado et al., 2022; e.g., When writing a text, I can synthesize and integrate ideas obtained from multiple scientific sources to support my arguments). c) Anxiety towards writing and defending academic texts (2 items; e.g., using APA style would make me anxious) and d) the Perception of the utility of Instagram for academic purposes scale (Earlan, 2019; 9 items).

Our results show that the educational intervention increased students’ confidence in using APA when writing their academic texts (F (1, 119) = 5.35, p < .01, η2 = .18) and decreased their anxiety levels towards this task (F (1, 119) = 56.37, p < .001, η2 = .14). Students in the experimental group also improved students’ competence in the use of APA guidelines (F (1, 119) = 68.15, p < .001; η2 = .43) and perceived that Instagram is a useful tool to learn academic content (F (1, 119) = 6.49, p < .01, η2 = .12). As for students in the control group, we did not find differences in any of these variables between pre- and post-intervention.

Study supported by Universidad de Zaragoza: PIIDUZ_2_475 and Universidad Pontificia de Comillas: 2122-05.
TIC, innovation, educational intervention, APA guidelines, Instagram.