Research Reflection

Upon reaching the end of the research process there are many things that I have learnt along the way. As a quick reminder, the question I was focusing on was the correlation between commuting distance to the university and early morning class motivations. From what I found during the research project, there was a moderate correlation between the length of the distance and the individual’s motivation for the class.

The strongest finding I had was that people living for than 60 minutes away struggled the most due to their long commutes. I really enjoyed the entire research process and I realised the importance that research has and how it can affect the lives of others. However, if I were to redo this project, there are a few things I would do differently.

Due to the depth of the research project, it was very limited in the data that I could collect. If in the future I had the opportunity to create a full-scale research project, I would have more data to analyse and hopefully a stronger finding in the end. A wider-scale investigation into commuting distances and early morning classes could produce a more influential finding to convince the University of the problems their students are truly facing.

Another part of the project I would like to adapt is my research methods. I used interviews and a survey to collect my data which were very helpful in both collecting qualitative and quantitative data. However, I would like to conduct more interviews to gather further viewpoints and possibly also conduct a group interview to get ideas bouncing off of each other, to possibly gather ideas on how their situation can improve.

The requirements that this project needed did limit how much I could put into the project and findings that I could draw from the data. I believe if there was more time and more research ability, the project would turn out with stronger conclusions. Either way, I enjoyed the entire process and can see where things can be improved. Hopefully, later on down the track, I will have more learning opportunities like this to develop my skills in research.

 

The University Student Experience

The Project

No one shares the same experience, even when sharing the same environment and situations. There are many factors that affect a person’s experience, especially at university. Some of these factors include Age, Gender, Race, Socioeconomic Status, Religion and the list goes on. In my research project, I am proposing, looking into how a student’s daily commute to university affects their motivations and attitudes towards morning classes. From personal experience, the commute to University can either be a breeze or a struggle. If you are either using public transport like buses or trains, or personal means such as a car, bike or walking, it could affect the ease or unease of attending early morning classes.

Background Information

Personally, I catch the free bus to the University of Wollongong. On one hand, this is a great way to get to university as, it is free, a short walk to the bus stop and, the buses come every ten minutes. However, it has its downsides such as the buses are very busy in the mornings, resulting in the possibility of not getting on multiple buses (which I have witnessed multiple times and have experienced myself), the buses are also rarely on time and regularly late due to the busyness, making them unreliable. Nevertheless, my commute to university was once extremely easy as I was a Koolobong resident (which is on campus living accommodation) and was able to make the short five-minute walk to attend class. This is just one example of the different attitudes on commuting to university.

Time Bound.  

Every student must make their way to university, no matter where they are located and many cannot help the fact they have early morning classes. These can include compulsory lectures, tutorials or pass sessions which may only be at certain times, causing students to have no other choice but to start at 8:30 or 9:30am. Due to the time frame available, and the context of my project, I will stay within the students that are a part of the BCM212 cohort, and get the primary data that I will require in a timely manner.

I have narrowed down my topic ideas to the effect of students’ daily commute on their attitudes, not just to university in general, but in particular morning classes. By doing this, I have provided myself with a small section to focus on which will be able to be completed in the time frame of this Semester.

The Evidence

Many researchers have looked at various aspects of student experiences, including transport issues to university/college. Many have also done research on the effects of morning classes on different individuals. However, neither issues have been connected, thus one of the reasons I would like to take part in researching it more.

In an article by Watson, Barber and Dziurawiec, they explore the financial strain of University students and how daily transportation to university adds to the pressure. Throughout the article, they explain the detriment of low funds on students’ stress and the many factors, such as transport, adds to this. A direct quote from the article states, “students who are unable to afford transport in order to attend classes and social outings in order to catch up with friends are likely to perceive their financial situation negatively, which is likely to result in poorer wellbeing.”. This is just one aspect of how a daily commute can affect the lives of students suggesting a clear issue to be researched.

Studies into early morning classes and their effectiveness have also been researched. Evans, Kelley P and Kelley J created a study to showcase that University start times have no consideration for the optimal learning states for students. Many students require a later start time to accommodate for their chronotypes which affect the time that is most ideal for learning. They go on to say that adolescence and individuals in early adulthood require a moved wake up a schedule of two to three hours behind those of Adults and Children.

The Sydney Morning Herald investigated long commuting times to university and how this affects their social lives on campus. In the article, Porter interviews students that live on campus at their universities and students that have to commute from the suburbs. The article exemplifies the daily struggles university students undertake when travelling to university. It also quotes from a report by the Australian Council of Educational Research that students living on campus have higher engagement with their studies and staff than those living off campus with a long journey.

As it can be seen through these sources, there is a clear issue to be explored. Daily commutes of students can affect many parts of their life. On an academic level, there may be more effects than University co-ordinators may realise.

References

  1. Watson, S Barber, B, Dziurawiec, S 2014, ‘The Role of Economizing and Financial Strain in Australian University Students’ Psychological Well-Being’, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 421–433. 
  2.  Evans, MDR, Kelley, P, Kelley, J 2017, ‘Identifying the Best Times for Cognitive Functioning Using New Methods: Matching University Times to Undergraduate Chronotypes’, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 
  3. Porter, L 2016, ‘Suburban students pack their bags for uni colleges’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 March.