RESEARCH FINALE – (A REFLECTION ON THE INFLUENCES OF TERTIARY EDUCATION RESEARCH)

It has taken a whole semester to lead to this research ‘finale’, but it is finally here! I didn’t think I would say this but … I’m a little sad! This research project has been interesting and in all honesty, I wish I had more time to dedicate to it. As shared previously, at the beginning of this process, had increasing interest to discover what makes students continue onto tertiary study instead choosing a trade or entering directly into the workforce. Now at the finish line, just before the gold confetti drops, I have the overwhelming need to reflect…

As an individual, it is important to remain accountable for all your actions, traits and mannerisms that influence another person in anyway. All individuals obtain a set of moral principles that fundamentally shape the way we exist. The ABC Media Alliance code of Ethics accentuates professional core values one should abide by to produce ethically correct content.

Previous reflection and experience has enabled me to identify five core values that I strive to live by, socially and professionally.  Honesty, loyalty, respect, kindness and trust are these core values chosen to follow and therefore have been exhibited throughout this research project. Reporting to readers and interpreting interviewees honestly is a key principle in the Media Alliance code of ethics, and is a value I have naturally chosen to pursue in this report.

Within the report, I made it essential to display my findings with integrity and make honesty apparent in all the processes throughout. I ensured all those participating in this research project were aware of my research intentions. Explanation of how their data would be used was provided through a consent form at the commencement of the online survey.

Information on creating a consent form enabled me to properly construct this document. The structure of: introducing the research, explaining the time the survey would take and stating the confidentiality of the data, helped communicate clear expectations between the interviewee which offers my whole honest integrity. This form helped participants understand the purpose of the survey and the purpose of their contribution, which was used as raw data. I take accountability for my interpretation of data and make use of the provided data with fairness and accuracy, this acquiring to my public responsibility as well as my personal value.

According to Sanghera (2016), “individuals are reflexive beings who interpret the world in relation to things that matter to them”. Archer (2003) further claims reflexivity is “indispensable… enabling individuals to navigate their way through the world” (in Sanghera 2016). I agree with both.

Curiosity was my initial ‘beginning’ to this research task, although what really lead me when researching this topic was my subconscious process of reflexivity. I saw so much value in the question I was asking because of the way I view the world. From personal experience, the reason I applied for a university education over any other, was because of expectation. At the time, I believed I owed it to myself and the people surrounding me. I believed it would result in getting my ‘dream job’ and that higher pay packet. I believed people who graduate university were intelligent.  Discovering a decline in trade apprentices and increase in university applicants provided me clarity. This mattered to me because of the way I feel society is structured and because of this, I had to source answers.

While this task began based on my preconceived opinion of what influences tertiary education, collecting results was the greatest challenge experienced in this task. I required significant critical judgement when analysing my data. I desperately wanted to answer my own questions. I needed to consciously ensure that I read the findings with accuracy and presented them without including personal bias so that I was honest to readers and participants. Critically judging my results with thorough caution, I did not purely seek the direct answers to my questions although the temptation was there. Instead I acknowledged and documented the responses that also do not fit with my belief.

In total, I believe my research was successful. When you are well engaged with a topic of interest, the research process seems simple and (dare I say), enjoyable. Although I encountered difficulties throughout the process, with gaining survey response and trying to remove my personal bias, the experience was satisfying. I am content with the results as well as knowingly free from skewed data. This research practice has been insightful, determining small scale figures and answers, although further research of this topic would provide more clarity.

References:

ABC. (2017). Media Alliance Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/0921_meaaethics.pdf [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].

Coulfields, M. (2017). Misinformation May Be the Disease, But Curiosity Is the Cure. [online] Hapgood. Available at: https://hapgood.us/2017/03/19/misinformation-may-be-the-disease-but-curiosity-is-the-cure/ [Accessed 30 May 2017].

Duke University (2016). Guide to Writing Consent Forms and Oral Consent Scripts | Office Of Research Support. [online] Available at: https://ors.duke.edu/orsmanual/consent-forms-and-scripts [Accessed 30 May 2017].

Sanghera, B. (2016). Charitable giving and reflexive individuals: How personal reflexivity mediates between structure and agency. Social Science Information, [online] 56(1), pp.28-48. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/full/10.1177/0539018416646486 [Accessed 31 May 2017].

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