Dr Kara Makara Fuller
- Senior Lecturer (People, Place & Social Change)
My research focuses on understanding how students’ social interactions in educational settings influence the development of their motivation and learning. I received my B.S. in Psychology from James Madison University, my Ph.D. in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. I am a Chartered Member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society. Within the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, I teach and supervise within the MSc in Psychological Studies programme, teach a number of online distance learning courses, lead the Introduction to Educational and Social Research course for PGT students, and contribute lectures to the MEduc programme. I have completed the University of Glasgow Aspiring Leaders Programme, and currently sit on the University of Glasgow Senate. I am a member of the University of Glasgow Education Assessment Network and the Robert Owen Centre.
A central question that guides my research is how social interactions in schools and universities influence motivation and learning. At the start of my PhD, I explored the motivational consequences of standardised testing and how this creates a culture of competition. This then evolved into how peer relations are an important part of the school context that impact students’ motivation. My PhD thesis examined the associations and predictive influence among secondary students’ academic achievement goals and social achievement goals, peer social network connections, and academic achievement (Makara, 2013; Makara & Madjar, 2015; Makara & Karabenick, 2017). My postdoctoral research expanded this through an examination of how first-year university students’ patterns of social interactions with others influence their academic success (Makara et al., 2015). In relation to social aspects of learning and motivation in schools, I have examined students’ social goals in educational settings (Makara, 2019; Shim et al., 2017) and students’ academic help seeking from peers and teachers (Makara & Karabenick, 2013; Gonida et al., 2014). Currently, I have come full circle to again explore assessment through two research projects in Wales focused on progression in learning (Camau 2016-2021 and Camau I'r Dyfodol 2022-2025). In the first Camau project, I specifically looked at learning progressions in the areas of Humanities (Hughes et al., 2020) and Health and Wellbeing. More recently, I have returned to exploring academic help seeking and it's relationship with assessment and feedback (Makara & Kuusinen, forthcoming).
My research can be characterised by four complementary strands of social aspects of motivation and learning, within the contexts of:
- Academic help seeking – the relationship between motivation and academic help seeking, and various aspects of the help seeking process including who students go to for help
- Assessment and feedback – learning progression, peer assessment, help seeking as an agentic process of learners initiating feedback, and the role of teacher and pupil social interactions in assessment for learning
- Achievement goals – students’ academic and social achievement goals, correlates of academic and social achievement goals, and how social goals influence other learning processes (e.g., help seeking)
- Interpersonal connections – peer relations in schools, students’ and teachers’ social networks, and how social connections and interactions in schools influence motivation and learning.
Themes of my work:
- Breadth in terms of age group, covering young children through postgraduate students, and teachers, drawing from my expertise in developmental psychology. Some examples from my publications include research on young children (Ryan, Shim, & Makara, 2013; Wrigley, Makara, & Elliot, 2016), research on secondary students (Makara, 2013; Makara & Karabenick, 2017; Makara & Madjar, 2015), research comparing a range of different ages (Gonida et al., 2014), research on university students (Shim et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2017), and research on postgraduate students (Elliot et al., 2016; Elliot et al., 2021). My recent research on learning progression in the areas of Health & Wellbeing and the Humanities spans ages 5-16.
- Breadth internationally, with research across countries, international comparative research, and research on international students, drawing from my expertise in the psychology of individual differences. Some examples from my publications include research in the United States (Makara & Madjar, 2015), Wales (Hughes et al., 2020), China (Shim, Wang, Makara et al., 2017), Greece (Gonida et al., 2014), comparative research between the United States and South Korea (Lee, Lee, Makara et al., 2017), international students in the UK (Elliot et al., 2016), and research using the PISA dataset (Cortina et al., 2010). I have recently published a book chapter on students’ social goals within an Asian context (Makara, 2019). In 2021, I gave a master class on quantitative cross-cultural comparative research.
- I am keen to engage in research directly with teachers and schools, as evidenced by my experience working with teachers as part of my longitudinal study at a large secondary school in the US (Makara & Karabenick, 2017), in our original CAMAU project in Wales (Hayward et al., 2018; Hayward et al., 2020), and more recently in the Camau i'r Dyfodol project in Wales (2022-2025).
Makara, K. A. and Kuusinen, C. (2022) Academic help seeking as a process of seeking formative feedback on learning. In: Remembering the Life, Work, and Influence of Stuart Karabenick: a Legacy of Research on Self-Regulation, Help-Seeking, Teacher Motivation, and More. Series: Advances in motivation and achievement (22). Emerald. (Accepted for Publication)
Makara, K. A. (2019) Social goals in context: Asian students. In: Jones, M. H. (ed.) Social Goals in the Classroom: Findings on Student Motivation and Peer Relations. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, pp. 173-191. ISBN 9781138604513 (doi: 10.4324/9780429468452-10)
Makara Fuller, K. A. and Madjar, N. (2015) The role of goal structures and peer climate in trajectories of social achievement goals during high school. Developmental Psychology, 51(4), pp. 473-488. (doi: 10.1037/a0038801) (PMID:25730313)
Makara, K. A. and Karabenick, S. A. (2013) Characterizing sources of academic help in the age of expanding educational technology: a new conceptual framework. In: Karabenick, S. A. and Puustinen, M. (eds.) Advances in Help-Seeking Research and Applications: The Role of Emerging Technologies. Information Age Publishing: Charlotte, NC, pp. 37-72. ISBN 9781623963347
'Camau i'r Dyfodol (Steps to the Future)', Funded by Welsh Government and the University of Wales Trinity St David, April 2022-March 2025. Principal Investigator, with David Morrison-Love (joint PI), Francisco Valdera-Gil, Jennifer Farrar, and Fiona Patrick. £1,207,000.
'Curriculum for Wales Think Piece', Funded by Welsh Government, March-October 2021. Co-Investigator, with Louise Hayward (PI), George MacBride, and David Morrison-Love. £21,650.
'Developing a method and data gathering instruments to investigate learning progression in a National Curriculum', The Carnegie Trust, Research Incentive Grant RIG009335, 2020-2022. Co-Investigator, with David Morrison-Love (PI). £13,464.
'Decision Trees: Improving the impact of research on policy and practice', UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account, University of Glasgow, 2020-2021. Co-Investigator, with Louise Hayward (PI), David Morrison-Love (Co-I). £14,900.
'CAMAU', Progression and assessment in the Welsh curriculum. Funded by Welsh Government and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, 2017-2019. Co-Investigator, with Louise Hayward (PI), David Morrison-Love, Georgina Wardle, Peter Donaldson, Kay Livingston, and Francisco Valdera-Gil. £399,482.
'Towards maximizing international PhD students’ experience in the UK', funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account, University of Glasgow, 2016-2017. Co-Investigator, with Dely Elliot (PI), Muir Houston, and Kate Reid. £4,160.
'Partnership Development between University of Glasgow and Baku State University', funded by British Council, 2015. Collaboration with Vivienne Baumfield, University of Exeter, and Aliyeva Turana, Baku State University. £3,000.
'Evaluation of Roots of Empathy Scotland' - school-based intervention programme designed to increase children’s empathy, contracted by QA Research, funded by UK Action for Children, 2014-2015. Research consultant with Dely Elliot. £5,000.
I supervise a number of PhD researchers in the School of Education as well as PGT students in the MSc in Psychological Studies programme. I am currently open to taking on new doctoral researchers with projects related to my research expertise–please feel free to contact me with enquiries.
Current doctoral researchers I supervise/co-supervise:
- Erin Bartley
- Zhihan Wu
- Ying Li
- Ebtisam Alqahtani
- Dayana Balgabekova
- Jianshu Liu
- Alqahtani, Ebtisam Saeed H
Social media in higher education for teaching and learning practice
- Balgabekova, Dayana
Teacher Learning in the Context of Lesson Study in Kazakhstan
- Li, Ying
Exploring approaches to mental health help seeking among Chinese international postgraduate researchers studying in the UK
- Liu, Jianshu
Gender stereotypes and women in STEM: A cross-cultural comparison of Chinese & British students associations and attitudes
Completed PhDs I have supervised/co-supervised:
- Tianyi Zhang (PhD, 2022)
- Hsin-Yi Shih (PhD, 2022)
- Emily Pacheco (PhD, 2020)
- Nouf Abdulrahman Almohideb (PhD, 2020)
- Jie Zhang (PhD, 2020)
- Jonathan Cavana (MPhil by Research, 2016)
I have served as course leader for the Individual Differences courses on the MSc in Psychological Studies programme and the MSc Psychology (Online) programme, as well as Academic Coordinator for the School of Education staff on MSc Psychology (Online). I was also course leader for Introduction to Educational and Social Research, a core research methods course for a large number of PGT students in the School of Education. I contribute lectures on Child Development to the MEduc programme and PGDE programme. I also helped develop the Curriculum, Assessment, Pedagogy: Understanding Learners and International Perspectives courses as part of the MSc Education (Online) programme. Previously in the United States, I taught undergraduate level Educational Psychology and Developmental Psychology.
- American Psychological Association (Division 15: Educational Psychology)
- British Psychological Society, CPsychol
- European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
- American Educational Research Association (Division C and the Motivation in Education Special Interest Group)
- Society for Research on Adolescence
- Journal of Learning & Individual Differences (2022-ongoing)
- Curriculum Journal (2014-2018)
- Invited grant reviewer for the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation
- Journal reviewer for AERA Open, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Elementary School Journal, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Experimental Education, Educational Theory, Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, Learning and Individual Differences, Learning and Instruction, and Review of Education
Service at the University of Glasgow
- University of Glasgow Senate (2020-ongoing)
- CoSS Research Methods Committee (2020-2021)
- Academic Coordinator, MSc Psychology Conversion ODL (2018-ongoing)
- School of Education Ethics Officer (2016-2019)
- College of Social Sciences Ethics Reviewer (2016-2020)
- Previously co-organised the Curriculum, Assessment, and Pedagogy RTG seminar series, and organised a seminar for the University of Glasgow Education Assessment Network