Throughout this research project I had the opportunity to connect with my fellow peers about a topic I myself also find quite fascinating and was also eager to delve into, the study environments we prefer to study in and why. I learnt a lot about how to communicate with my participants, how to open up conversations with my participants and also how to conduct research practice which is ethical. In particular, I think I’ve developed my researcher skills as although I have created online surveys in the past, holding a focus group was something very new to me and something I really ended up enjoying. Having face to face conversations with participants I felt really benefited my research as it gave me an opportunity to really hear the participant’s opinions properly. It was really great to see the participants feed off each other and either agree or disagree with the person sitting next to them. The group of students involved, although all being members of the same BCM212 class weren’t too familiar with each other yet were still very comfortable to talk and discuss my topic. The focus group was an eye-opener and I will definitely be using it as a research method for any future projects.
As for my online survey it was also really great to see people responding and having a large sample of student’s opinions to review and reflect. One thing that was a little frustrating about survey monkey was its way of formatting questions, which is probably something I should’ve tested myself and looked into further before sending my survey out.
The above picture was how I formatted a question, yet the image below is how the results of this question were formatted making it hard/impossible to interpret. Again, this was an error on my end and something I should have checked beforehand.
Learning about the ethical measures to undertake during research was something I found quite interesting. After reviewing the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (Updated 2018), I was aware that my research project was very low risk and fell under the category of “Negligible Risk” or “a project in which there is no foreseeable risk of discomfort or harm and if there is any foreseeable risk, it will not be of more than inconvenience”. However, although being of low risk to participants, using their answers was still something which consent was necessary. Both my online survey participants and focus group participants had to be made aware of what was being asked of them and made aware that their identities would stay anonymous as well as that they had to ability to retract their answers at any time.
Conclusively, this research project was a good first experience with undergoing my first university research task. I gained a greater understanding on the processes undergone by research professionals and had the opportunity to experiment with online surveys and focus groups and overall am quite happy with how everything turned out.