In this essay, I wish to report on the construction and results of the survey of first year undergraduates that we created. It will be an analytical account of what was done, reasons for doing this and the overall out comes. To enable me to do this I will have to use the understanding about research methods that I have acquired since the beginning of the semester and hopefully this essay will demonstrate this. When we entered into discussions on what the topics to research should be about, we all came to the conclusion that the questions should be relevant to the vast majority of students attending Manchester University.
We also wanted the topic to be something that everyone had an opinion on so that the research would be significant to our studies. There were other factors that we had to consider before making a final decision for questions to put into our pilot survey such as not making the questions too ambiguous, long winded or even too personal that the subjects would be unwilling to cooperate etc. The sub sections that we finally agreed on for our pilot study were as follows;
Information about the subject-This was used to investigate factors such as gender, age, class and social background to build up an overall picture of the subject, while still allowing them to retain their anonymity. Student finances- This included questions about tuition fees, student loans and all of the other sub issues that surround the management of student finances. We all felt that this was an area where we had to tread carefully so not to offend anyone as financial discussion, even in the form of a survey is generally though of as a taboo.
Student safety-This sub section contained questions concerning student safety in University halls of residence. This was the only part that wasn’t going to be relevant to everyone, but we came to the conclusion that it was pertinent enough to be included. The pilot survey During the process of drawing up the first questionnaire, we discussed exactly what questions were going to be asked within each sub section.
The wordings of the questions were going to be vital to the results that would be obtained. We had to look at which questions we wanted specific answers for. These questions were going to have to be formatted so that they were closed and the answer would then be as precise as possible. As question thirteen was a follow up to the previous question, we expected to answers to go hand in hand. Unfortunately the vast majority of our students managed to contradict themselves.
For example; If you were to complete this question correctly, if you answered no to question twelve, the answer to question thirteen also should have been no in order to make sense and vice versa. So the subjects by choosing yes and no, or no and yes were in fact contradicting themselves without meaning to. This was put down to the fact that perhaps the questions had not been read properly, so we needed them to be made more obvious and laid out in a more structured manner so the same mistake was not repeated again.