Is Orientation Week only beneficial for first year students?
As a result of my research project I have established the importance of Orientation Week primarily for first year students. Using a survey, I have determined the overall perspective university students have of O-Week, and what the benefits and negatives of attending O-Week are.
Progressing through each stage of research maximised my knowledge on research communication, and different forms of research that can be applied when engaging with a motivating topic. Instigating the task led me to develop a clear understanding of the research practice ‘reflexive thinking’. This approach was taken forward within my data collection, through the incorporation of my own experiences with the posed question. Smith states “a reflexive journal promotes an internal dialogue for analysing and understanding important issues in the research project”, making it a crucial aspect of any research task. Including reflexive research has enabled me to transfer from an outsider’s role, to an insider’s role within the core study (Berger, R 2013).
Ethical considerations were a fundamental aspect throughout the surveying, and primary data collection process in my research task. Conducting a survey requires honesty, integrity, and respect (Qualtrics, 2009), and ethical strategies in research allow risk assessment measures, encourage honesty, and promote public confidence (Halej, J 2017, p.3). Applying these ethical research approaches clarified how to minimise intrusion of the research participants in my data collection. Consideration of ethical risks were applied in my survey through an introductory statement allowing participants to understand why they are administering the survey, who has access to the survey data, and how the respondent’s privacy will be protected. Implementing an introductory statement informs the respondents of the significant research details integrated within the survey.
An understanding on how to successfully analyse risks, and plan time was gained in this project through the implementation of a Risk Matrix, and a Gantt chart. Determining the high-risk possibilities allowed more focus on preventing these, making them a less likely chance of occurring e.g. ‘Misleading research results (Severe Impact/Very Likely Likelihood)’ was a severe risk identified which I prevented by using simple and straight forward questions in my survey. Application of a gantt chart allows appropriate time periods planned for each stage of the research. This strategy effectively prevented me from being unable to complete the research task.
If I were to change anything in my research project I would consider asking students from different universities about their experiences of O-Week rather than just focussing on students from The University of Wollongong. This research would be conducted out of my own interest and used as a primary source, possibly considered in Assessments 1, and 2, as well as in the overall outcome of my project.
Overall this project gave me a detailed understanding of the strategies required to perform successful, and ethical research practice. I now know how to use reflexive research, as well as communicate through research using; surveying, focus groups, and interviews, all in which I will consider using in my future years at university.
Berger, R 2013, Now I see it, now I don’t: reasearcher’s position and reflexivity in qualitative research, 3 January
Halej, J 2017, Ethics in Primary research (focus groups, interviews and surveys), viewed 18 May, <https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/activities/accolade/resources/ecu_research_ethics.pdf>
Smith, B 2007, Ethical and Methodologic Benefits of Using a Reflexive Journal in Hermeneutic‐Phenomenologic Research, 31:4, 14 June, <https://sigmapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1547-5069.1999.tb00520.x>
Qualtrics, 2009, Ethical Issues for Online Surveys, Qualtrics, weblog post, 19 March, viewed 18 May, <https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/ethical-issues-for-online-surveys/>