My research journey began in the first week of the Autumn semester at university. We were set the task of choosing a research topic which explored student experience at university. My chosen topic, presented in question form, ‘Why do students choose to study at the University of Wollongong?, explored the reasoning for attending UOW from various students of various backgrounds.
In preparing the data gathering method for my research the initial plan was to gather data by interviews, however upon further contemplation a number of issues came about, including, time frame for completing the project which would result in minimal participants, difficulty in gathering participants in general, gathering appropriate participants (university students) and more specifically finding participants with completely varied answers to the initial research question. With this, I was forced to come up with an alternative method, leading me to undertaking surveys in order to successfully complete my research. The ten question survey allowed for gathering of background information of participants, with questions such as “Have you previously attended another university? If answer yes, why?”, “Which option best suits your status as a student? (with options- local, regional, national and international students)”. These questions not only allowed for comparison when analysing research, but were an appropriate lead up to the concluding question, being the research topic question.
In analysing and concluding my research I did discover some fascinating results which were not anticipated in the process of commencing the research. My initial hypothesis for reasoning, Why students attended the University of Wollongong, revolved around peer conformity, localisation to family/friends, reputation and course availability. However, majority of respondents focused their choice on the basis of location and specifically coastal environment, as well as the natural beauty of the university grounds and the well-kept facilities.
Although possessing limitations, the finding of my research have not only provided theoretical information for use in professional circumstances, but being a local student, it has provided me with a changed perspective on the unmatched physical attributes and world class facilities of the University of Wollongong.