Week 12: Final Thoughts

At the beginning of the course, I had no idea where my research interests were and whether I could handle the role of researcher, even on a junior level.   Although I conduct research for almost every major assignment, the task of developing my own research proposal was quite intimidating. However, proceeding incrementally and being able to discuss my research as it evolved has been very helpful – thank you, my fellow blog members for your comments, opinions, and advice!

My research question has not changed in substance since I submitted my SSHRC program of work. It still focuses on the association between Facebook use (of a specific nature to do with school) and student satisfaction with university life. My biggest problem was deciding in detail on the method. Finally, after considerable indecision, I settled on asking students to use a diary to track their Facebook use and a questionnaire to assess their satisfaction. Hopefully the diary will help avoid the problem of participants guesstimating the time they spend on Facebook.

I developed a theoretical framework to assist me. It has been very helpful in terms of clarifying my thoughts. Similar to the “bedraggled daisy” exercise, drawing a diagram of the framework really helps in seeing the connections between the variables under investigation. Because of this project, I have come to appreciate the difficulties in designing research proposals. Good luck to all, and thanks again!

-Camille Johnson

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Week 12: Final Thoughts

  1. Hey Camille,

    I think it’s great you used a diary and a survey, however, I’m curious as to why you didn’t want to use face-to-face interviews?

    I only say this because I feel like non-verbal cues (such as gestures, emotional tone, etc.) could be particularly useful in assessing one’s satisfaction with university.

    Thanks 🙂

    Victoria Grant

  2. vangorpb

    A diary seems to be a very interesting way to take on this problem, largely because it will allow you to survey a wider population of students without having to take the time to visit them and only get a snapshot of their participation (and cut down on estimation). Something you may want to mention in your assignment is how you initially plan on coding some of your responses, or at least simplify the mountain of data you receive into something useful.

  3. jbake006

    I like the idea of a combination of a survey and diary. The diary entries will be able to nicely fill in any of the gaps that could possible be left by the survey. It’s always nice to have some statistics to make use of as well. It seems like a really good way to narrow down the amount of time they spend on Facebook and ensure the specificity of the information they provide to you.

    Perhaps if you were looking to find a good way to get some face to face information, a focus group is a good way to get that information without spending too much time interview individual people. That’s only if you think it would be valuable to your research though.

    • Hi everyone,
      Thank you for your responses to my post! I didn’t use face-to-face interviews for two main reasons. First, I didn’t want to burden my participants with a third “activity” for the study. I thought asking them to maintain a diary on a daily basis as well as completing a questionnaire was sufficiently demanding. Since the participants will be graduate students, I am very well aware of time being an issue! Second, while body language and other non-verbal actions would be interesting to capture, I wouldn’t know how to measure these behaviours with precision and consistency. For instance, there is no exact reason why people cross their arms. It can mean someone is unhappy or uncomfortable or that they are cold or just out of habit (I confess that I have this habit). How is body language quantified in statistical terms? For my first study, I’d prefer to deal with data that is easier to handle. I don’t want to get way ahead of myself 🙂

      Camille

      • jbake006

        Whoa, sounds good Camille! In my haste I forgot to consider how overworked an extra task could make your participants feel. I’ve definitely got to keep that in mind in the future or else my unlucky participants will get burnt-out. Your research seems really well thought out. I wish you good luck with it!

  4. Hey everyone
    I wanted to comment on your decision to not include face to face interviews. I’m currently struggling with that decision as well. I wanted to combine face-to-face interviews with online questionnaires. My reasoning at the beginning is that it would make people more likely to respond since they will be personally invested in the research project (of course, this is based on the assumption that I would be able to win them over with my charming personality during the course of the interview). Now I’m thinking that I will avoid face to face interviews altogether, since I’ve read during my research that people are more likely to be dishonest in face-to-face than over the internet. I’m not sure though. Maybe winning them over to my cause outweighs a small improvement in the margin of error?
    portia.

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