Sports Management Student Presents Research on Team Identity at Graduate Scholars Forum

Posted on 4/9/2017 9:39:04 AM

Evans Davis Sports Management student presents research at Graduate Scholars ForumCould attending more sporting events at their university help a student to acclimate to college life, and ultimately stay to earn a degree? Those are the questions Evan Davis, of Apollo, is trying to answer with his master’s degree theses project, “Effects of Team Identification on Social and Emotional Adjustment at a Division II University,” which he presented on April 5 at the IUP Graduate Scholars Forum at the Hadley Union Building.

“How do students become adjusted?” Davis asked. “One of the ways can be in college athletics. At big universities, some kids go there so they can be a part of something. They want to be something bigger than themselves. … Athletics can create a sense of belonging for students. I want to find out if, at a Division II school, that’s the same.”

Davis’ presentation was one of the more than 120 during the seventh annual one-day event, which allows IUP graduate students to present original research in a wide array of subjects. Additionally, there were nearly 100 graduate students participating in the poster presentation session.

The 12th-annual undergraduate forum was held April 4, also at the HUB. Roughly 300 students are involved in the two programs, held as part of Research Appreciation Week at IUP.

Davis said he will use previous studies done at Division I schools to see if the same results correlate at a Division II school, which IUP is.

“Division I programs will be bigger, and they draw more attention,” Davis said. “Even though Division II programs are not as popular socially, they can help with keeping the students in school.”

Davis, who is working under the tutelage of faculty member Richard Hsiao, is a first-year graduate student in the Sport Management program.

His project will take him throughout the 2017-18 school year, and he plans to poll roughly 200 IUP students to see if their experiences following athletics—or not following them in some cases—had any impact on their ability to succeed in college.

Davis said some other studies have shown that some students who became fans of their own college teams felt an increase in self-esteem and found a stronger sense of community than those who don’t. His hypothesis for this project is to prove that statement to be correct.

“People join groups because it gives them a sense of belonging to something greater than they are,” he said, “and it helps them to adjust better.”

Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in sport administration from IUP in December 2016.