Skip to Content

Banner for HDR Expo 2012

Priscilla Murphy

First Name: Priscilla
Surname: Murphy
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Leigh Wood , Leanne Carter

Email Student

View Priscilla Murphy's profile

Paper Title

Student conceptions of learning mathematics and their approaches


My core research focus will be to examine student conception of mathematics and approaches to learning mathematics. Several studies suggested that majority of tertiary mathematics students adopt a component /fragmented conception of mathematics, which are associated with a technique orientation (Wood, Petocz, & Reid, 2012) / surface approach to learning (Crawford, Gordon, Nicholas, & Prosser, 1998; Liston & O'Donoghue, 2009). In another New Zealand study of the transition from secondary to tertiary education, tertiary students were mostly driven by the extrinsic value of mathematics in terms of future career choices, employment and studies (Thomas et al., 2010). Therefore, it is within the parameters of previous studies that I will seek the views of engineering students and employer in terms of mathematics application in future studies and at the workplace in New Zealand. The secondary aim of the project will identify the relationships between student conception and their approaches to learning mathematics, self-concept and achievement. Some studies showed that students develop a range of negative (i.e., anxiety) and positive sources (i.e., mastery experiences) of self-efficacy (Hall & Ponton, 2005; Hutchison, Follman, Sumpter, & Bodner, 2006). My study will use mixed research methods such as, Short Form of Conceptions of Mathematics Survey (Wood, et al., 2012), Study Process questionnaire (Biggs, Kember, & Leung, 2001), Mathematics self-efficacy scale (Betz & Hackett, 1983) and interviews. By implication, these results could potentially show evidence of trends that point to the influence of teaching and learning service mathematics in engineering and the employability of engineering students.