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University Education Values Research Paper


Value of University Education as to Students’ Impressions

Research aim

The research seeks to establish value of university education in the student’s context by considering impressions that can be attributed from it.

Research objective

The following objective is proposed by the researcher as aiding in achieving the above stated aim:

    • To study the students impressions of the value of university education.

Research Question

How does student’s impression inform the value of university education?

Literature Review

Students have various impressions on the value of university education. According to Tony and Neil (2011), these impressions pertain to a wide variety of aspects that relate to life of an individual. For instance, Holman (2009) affirms that university education is a panacea of an increased earning in life as he postulates that people with a first university degree earn more than the high school graduates while those individuals with graduate education earn more than their counterparts with bachelors degree. Therefore, students’ impression is that university education is seen as an economic value since future earnings of an individual is directly related to the level of education one has and since university is the highest institution of higher learning, those who attain university education are considered to have higher earnings than those without (Fonagy, 2001).

Moreover, according to Balzer (2008), it is believed that students have the impression that the university education has societal value in respect to the workforce. These higher learning institutions release to the society highly qualified human capital. For that matter, Fabbris (2007) holds that a workforce with university level education is more enhanced and more productive which again relates to higher output for the economy. In addition, Smart (2010) postulates that students believe that with their attainment of university education, they are better placed in driving economies of their states since they feel empowered in all aspects.

However, it is also believed that value of university education vary depending on the kind of institution attended by an individual. According to Bengelsdorf (2001), students believe that those who attend the elite institutions usually earn more than those who graduate from universities that are regarded to be of lower quality. Furthermore, Bligh, Ian and Harold (2003) affirms that students have impressions that quality of these institutions usually have noteworthy effect on the living standards of the graduates since they serve as weigh scales in the job market.

On the other hand, Kaplin and Barbara (2007) hold that students in most cases demand better value of their tuition fee at the university. For instance, most university students see value of the university education in terms of the time university lecturers spend with them and in terms of the grades they achieve from these classes. Moreover, students at the university level always value subjects that are covered by professors than those delivered by tutors since the former are seen as authority in their field of study (Leahy, 2003).

Research Methodology

This research takes the approach of a case study where by it is expected to catch impressions of students on the value of university education. Employing an exploratory, qualitative research methodology will be the best approach given its ability to identify the students’ impressions of the value of university education. Creswell’s (2003) affirms that concerning interviews and case studies, a qualitative approach offers the best option for examining these approaches. Qualitative research therefore involves collection of a variety of empirical materials (Newman & Benz, 1998).

Sampling and Data Collection Methods

The study population will be made of the university students of Cambridge University which will be the case study in this research. In respect to sampling, the research will adopt probability sampling among the students. Probability sampling will be used since it provide an excellent way of selecting representative samples from large and known population (Babbie, 2010:225).

To facilitate smooth data collection exercise, the researcher will obtain personal information of the students making up the study sample from the university registry. Their contact information will be obtained to facilitate communication of the researcher and the respondents (Holmes, 1993). Request letters will be prepared and delivered to the study subjects through post office. The researcher will also avail envelops that are ‘postage paid’ to facilitate response from the respondents. However, telephone calls will be used to make a follow up for those who fail to respond on time.

From the responses that will be obtained, a decision will therefore be made on those who will have accepted to participate in the research exercise and those who will have declined the request will be replaced. Those who will have accepted to participate will be assigned numerical numbers. A total of 10 members will then be randomly picked from the list to avoid biasness (Johnson & Christensen, 2010).

The study will employ interviews. These interviews will be in form of both open and closed ended format. Open ended interview questions will be used so as to capture as much data as possible (Creswell, 2003). Moreover, the interview process will assume structured format. To enhance participation, the researcher will give the respondent the opportunity to choose venues that are convenient to them (Maxfield & Babbie, 1995).

Ethical issues for the study

The first ethical consideration that the researcher will consider in conducting the research is to obey the cardinal rule of voluntary participation amongst participants. This ethical issue is supported by Reiss and Judd (2000) who affirm that when doing a research, participants should not be coerced into taking part in the study.

In addition, closely related to the cardinal rule of voluntary participation according to Bartlett, Kotrlik and Higgins (2001) is the prerequisite of informed consent. The researcher will ensure that his participants are informed of the procedure of the research and they will be at liberty to consent before being part of the study sample.

Proposed Interview Questions

  1. What is the main value of university education to you?
  2. What are some of the other values that are attributed to university education?
  3. What is your level of university education?
  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate
    1. Will you enrol for further studies after your current level?
  • No
  • Yes
    1. Do you love university education?
  • No
  • Yes

Explanation and evaluation of the two significant questions

The two significant questions in this questionnaire is question number one ‘What is the main value of university education to you?’ and question number two ‘What are some of the other values that are attributed to university education?’ First and foremost, question one is designed to elicit some qualitative impressions of the core value of university education from students’ perspective. The question is meant to determine the main reason ascribed by students to be the pushing factor for their university education.

On the other hand, the second question is also designed to espouse other students’ impressions of the value of university education. As it can easily be understood there are several impressions that might be relating to the value of the university education apart from the first one mentioned in question one. Therefore, these other impressions by students will be captured in the second question. However, sampling and data collection methods will follow the defined sampling procedures as earlier discussed.

Since the study sample will be made of the university students of Cambridge University which will be the case study in this research, probability sampling method will be adopted since it gives equal opportunity to all entities in the population. This is designed to ensure that there is no biasness whatsoever and that the resultant sample is representative of the entire population

Data Analysis

A continuous method of data analysis was employed in analysis of the data. This ensured that there was no information that got lost in the analysis since information was recorded immediately (Birks, Chapman, & Francis, 2008) through note taking. Pertinent information was singled out which were subjected to interpretation using classification and coding techniques (Patton 2002)

In the analysis, there were several steps that were utilised. Firstly, there was scrutiny in checking whether the information provided is accurate. The researcher then analysed the information provided with the need of identifying important information. The useful information was then noted down in form of short notes. The researcher then transcribed short notes (Reiss & Judd, 2000).

Nonetheless, it is imperative to acknowledge that there was a high return rate of question that accounted for 100 percent of the total number of questionnaires that were dispatched to respondent. In respect to these answered questionnaires, out of ten, seven students were undertaking undergraduate while three students were in postgraduate level. This implies that the undergraduate population accounts for the largest portion of the university students which totals to 70 percent. On the other hand, the study results indicate that postgraduate students only accounts for thirty percent of the university population. Therefore, from these results, it can be affirmed that undergraduate students forms the largest population of the university community.

In addition, from the survey, the results indicated that most students were not willing to further their studies after their current level. For instance, sixty percent of the respondents were of the opinion that they will not enrol for further education after their current level while forty percent were willing to enrol for further studies after their current level. In connection to this, it can be opined that this is the reason why there are fewer people with higher degree qualification and again one of the reasons why higher earnings are also in few people which was ascribed as one of the values of university education. However, in relation to the last question of the questionnaire, it was evident from the respondents that most students love university education since eighty percent of the population were lovers of university education.

On the other hand, in respect to question one that pertains to qualitative study, most students associated their main value for education to improve their earnings. However, other values of the university education included improvement of ones status in the society, to be knowledgeable, to achieve self actualization among others.

Evaluation of the research

The research was conducted successfully since objective and the aim was accomplished. For that matter, the researcher was able to explore students’ impression of the value of university education of which the main value was established to be the desire to better their earnings. Nonetheless, the pilot study also had several lessons that future researchers can benefit from. For example, it was evident that the university students’ population have several similar traits that cut across the population. Therefore, any portion of the population selected for study is likely to generate results that can easily be generalised to the whole population.

Moreover, the research instrument that was adopted for this study was appropriate given nature of the study sample that was under investigation. The questionnaires were adopted and they were administered through mails since some of the respondents could not avail themselves easily. In addition, questionnaires were also adopted since the study sample involved educated people. Therefore, it was assumed by the researcher that they will easily read and understand the questions and provide appropriate answers. Moreover, this can be termed as successful since all questionnaires were filled correctly and the return rate was at 100 percent.

References

Babbie, E. (2010) The Practice of Social Research. USA: Wardsworth, Cengage Learning.

Balzer, W.K. (2008) Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes. USA: Routledge Publishers.

Bartlett, J.E., Kotrlik, I., & Higgins, C. (2001), Organizational research: Determining appropriate sample size for survey research, Information Technology, Learning, and Performance Journal, 19(1), pp.43–50.

Bengelsdorf, W. (2001) Ethnic Studies in Higher Education. USA: Arno Press, Inc.

Birks, M., Chapman, Y. & Francis, K. (2008) Memoing in qualitative research: Probing data and processes. Journal of Research in Nursing, 13(1) pp.68-75.

Bligh, D., Ian, M. & Harold, T. (2003) Understanding Higher Education: An Introduction for Parents, Staff. Intellect Books.

Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 2nd ed. London: CA Sage.

Fabbris, L. (2007) Effectiveness of University Education in Italy: Employement, Competences, Human Capital. Italy: Verlag.

Fonagy, P. (2001) Attachment theory and psychoanalysis. Pittsfield: Alpha Graphics.

Holman, F.E. (2009) The Value of a University Education. USA: University Utah Press.

Holmes, J. (1993) John Bowlby and attachment theory. London: Routledge.

Johnson, B & Christensen, L. (2010) Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. Califonia: Sage Publications, Inc.

Kaplin, W. & Barbara, A.L. (2007) The Law of Higher Education. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Leahy, R.L. (2003) Cognitive therapy techniques: Practitioner’s guide. New York: Guilford Press.

Maxfield, M.G. & Babbie, E. (1995) Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology. California: Wadsworth.

Newman, I. & Benz, C.R. (1998) Qualitative – Quantitative Reasearch Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum. United States of America: Southern Illinois University.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. London: CA, Sage Publications.

Reiss, H.T. & Judd, C.M. (2000) Handbook of research methods in social and personality psycholog. London: Cambridge University Press.

Smart, J. (2010) Higher Education: Handbook of Theory. USA: Springer.

Tony, H. & Neil, P. (2011) Values in Higher Education Teaching. USA: Routledge Publishers.

Appendixes

Questionnaire

  1. What is the main value of university education to you?
  2. What are some of the other values that are attributed to university education?
  3. What is your level of university education?
  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate
  1. Will you enrol for further studies after your current level?
  • No
  • Yes
  1. Do you love university education?
  • No
  • Yes
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IvyPanda. "University Education Values." January 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-education-values/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "University Education Values." January 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-education-values/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'University Education Values'. 14 January.

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