Initial research design idea


To get my 4th blog started, I will briefly reiterate the current idea of my research. 

Pre-learning / The process of finding what people want to learn
Why do people choose what they are NOT interested in? What is their journey/method of realising what they crave?
>>> The detailed background on my 2nd post

Through the last interview with Josua and daily conversations with my lovely folks, I have been convinced that my research could be applied not only to my home country but also to other areas. However, I am also sure that the above question is still too broad and includes too entangled backgrounds.

Considering the time and resources available for my research, I’ve narrowed down my scope and evolved the question a bit. 

Questions: Are postgraduate students of UOE studying what they are purely interested in? What influences their decision to enrol in postgraduate study? What kind of external factors do they have? If they are internally motivated, why and how could they find your passion? 

Target: Postgraduate students in UOE(class of 2023/2024)

The research design idea: 

  1. Surveys from students with as many different attributes as possible
  2. Life history interview after designating interviewees who have answered the survey
    • To identify the person’s motivations and influences that cannot be uncovered by the survey
  3. ? (The method that would lead the deep insights)
    • To detect invisible factors that respondents cannot express just by being asked intentional questions and answering verbally
    • To see their pure decision-making process not influenced by the interview 
      • How about collecting the personal statements that students submitted to the university? Through text mining or another investigation, would I see some factors that have influenced the students? 
        • I was inspired by the photovoice method* introduced in the Future Learning Organization course. 

Concerns if I implement the above

  • Is the question still too broad?
  • How do I identify whether they are motivated by external or internal factors?
  • I will have to care about the ethical aspect when I collect personal data.

While I am about to finish writing this blog, I’m getting motivated to explore more about the research design! 

Gravett(2018), Spaces and Places for Connection in the Postdigital University

6 Replies to “Initial research design idea”

  1. This is so interesting, May! As you mentioned in your second post, you’ve observed that the productivist lean of education often pushes us study things we don’t enjoy because we want a certain employment outcome. This also leads me to think of the obverse of this – Why do people choose to study things where they don’t see the outcomes they want? I’m thinking about subjects that are stereotypically “not useful” like art, theatre, philosophy, etc. You don’t have to do anything with this and don’t let me further complicate your thinking, rather it is just what is running through my brain.
    In terms of your methods, life history interviews would be so neat! Have you thought at all about how you’d like to go about analysing these to find the information you need?

    1. Emily, thank you for your inspiring comment. Apologies for my late reply. I’m very happy that you got interested in my idea and told me about the sympathy with the reading in Jen’s class. I was thinking about maybe the same thing, like “not-useful” subjects. Reflecting on when I was a college student, I had never thought I would learn education because it seemed not so useful to me to reach my ideal future with a good job 😂

      If I implement the life history interviews, I would like to compare the results in parallel, identify what influences are involved in choosing the subject in the university (people involved, assessment systems, school activities etc.) and visualise the strength of each influencing factor. I am also interested in what is common and what is different when people from different cultural backgrounds make the same choice.

      This is just my rough view from what I got at the moment, but I feel like people in Asia are more influenced by the educational system and parents’ expectations, and people in Europe are more influenced by the labour market after graduation. What about the US?

  2. If you want to narrow down your research even more, I think you can target people who are taking “money making” Post-Graduate degree (e.g. MBA, Law, Accounting and Finance) if I understand the nature of your research correctly. HOWEVER, that being said, it will be interesting to see the correlation between subjects taken and how interested students are with the subjects that they are studying, which require the subjects of the study to be the whole cohort of Post-graduate students. That being said, I think that you might want to add a bit of futures ‘flavour’ to your research (such as how education system of the futures can help students study what they are passionate about in the future) as currently your research is pretty present centric I would say!

    1. Hey Josh! Thank you for your constant cooperation with my project! I’m sure that there is enormous power of money, but the correlation between subjects and motivation attracts me more(Your comment made me realise). Maybe because I believe other factors(not only the prediction of money-making) would influence students.

      I’m also grateful for your future flavour idea 🙂 I love it!

  3. Meiko~I really like your research content. I think it is closely related to everyone and also troubles me. In my country, choosing a major is often not based on interests. Their choices are often influenced by parental interference, market trends, employment orientation, and so on. Most people choose their major for utilitarian purposes, especially for international students. The ranking of the school dominates everything, and they overlook important things such as their major and interests, or often they do not know what they are interested in

    1. Ying, glad to see you at the meeting a few hours ago! Also thank you for your comment. It’s very meaningful to my project. I would like to listen to your story in person, if possible. I will reach you out later.

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