NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1420008
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2024
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
EISSN: EISSN-1946-6226
Factors Influencing the Social Help-Seeking Behavior of Introductory Programming Students in a Competitive University Environment
Anael Kuperwajs Cohen; Alannah Oleson; Amy J. Ko
ACM Transactions on Computing Education, v24 n1 Article 11 2024
Collaboration is an important aspect of computing. In a classroom setting, working with others can increase a student's motivation to attempt more challenges, reduce the difficulty of complicated concepts, and bring about greater overall success. Despite extensive research in other domains, there has been minimal exploration within computing on what impacts a student's decision to seek social assistance in highly competitive university environments. To understand what affects introductory programming students' social help-seeking behavior in this context, we conducted 32 semi-structured interviews with students and performed thematic analysis and qualitative coding on the ensuing transcripts. Our qualitative analysis revealed 18 significant factors. We noticed that the decision to seek social help involved a two-fold process: first, the decision to engage in social help-seeking, and subsequently, the decision of who to ask for help. Furthermore, we found that help-seeking in computing is not fundamentally different from other disciplines, although some of the factors were unique to the topic of computing and the specific environment of this study. Factors related to communication style, the type of question being asked, and the school's cheating policy were central when discussing code, an integral part of computing. Regarding the environment, students repeatedly reported that the competitive major, the explicit and implicit class standards, and feelings of intimidation, among others, influenced them. These findings suggest that understanding both steps and the sociocultural context is important in order to effectively lower the barriers to asking for help.
Association for Computing Machinery. 2 Penn Plaza Suite 701, New York, NY 10121. Tel: 800-342-6626; Tel: 212-626-0500; Fax: 212-944-1318; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A