Project Goals for 2020

Wrapping Up Fall 2019

Hi all! I can’t believe the fall semester is already coming to an end. It really flew by! This was my last semester as an undergrad and I’m so happy Mapping the Student Engagement Journey was a part of it. I’ve already learned so much about research surrounding student engagement, libraries, and qualitative data. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring for Hailley and I as we continue our research. As I prepare for the spring 2020 semester, I have a clear to-do list for this project.

Kochstrasse™ cute illustration sweet job GIF

[“To Do” gif via Giphy]

Interviews

First, we need to finish up these student interviews! A few weeks ago, Hailley and I decided that we’re aiming to complete all 24 interviews by spring break, in March of 2020. I’ve definitely enjoyed interviewing students throughout the semester. It’s really interesting to learn how some student engagement journeys are similar to my own while others look entirely different. Right now we have eight interviews completed. Although students in our sample have had little availability in the past few weeks, I’m optimistic that students will have more free time to work with us at the beginning of next semester. I’m especially eager to hear from students in more STEM based colleges, such as engineering. I predict these student engagement journeys will look different from journeys in fields such as communications.

Qualitative Data Analysis

My next goal is to gain a stronger understanding of qualitative data analysis. This was one of my main learning objectives going into this project and I’m really eager to get to work on this in the spring. After we finish up our interviews, Hailley and I will be coding our data through NVivo. I’ve never worked with this software before so it’ll definitely be challenging at first. However, I’m eager to gain this new research skill and I’m sure with practice, the program will become more manageable.

I wanted to get a head start on learning NVivo so I’m ready to code in the spring when all our interviews are complete. I started this preparation process a few weeks ago when Hailley sent me some helpful NVivo tutorials. Additionally, we uploaded some practice material so I can get a feel for the program before next semester. So far, I’ve learned a fair amount of NVivo vocabulary (nodes, queries, classifications, etc.) I’m definitely getting more comfortable with the software but I know there’s still so much to learn! Hailley just received two books about NVivo from Penn State’s Interlibrary Loan and I’m hoping to use those books as a resource both this week and during the spring semester.

Presentations & Publications

Another goal of mine is to gain more presentation and publication experience in the spring. This semester, Hailley and I had the opportunity to present at Penn State’s Annual Student Engagement Summit, hosted by the Student Engagement Network. I loved sharing our progress and findings with the Penn State community and can’t wait for similar experiences next semester. Specifically, I’m eager to present our library related findings. Hailley and I did talk about libraries during our summit presentation, however, the main focus was on Penn State student engagement as a whole. In the spring, I’m hoping to gain experience presenting mainly on library research and the increased role libraries can play in student engagement opportunities. Hailley and I just submitted a presentation proposal yesterday for a library related presentation about student-centered research. Hopefully we’ll hear back soon and get to plan our presentation material in the upcoming months!

In addition to presentation opportunities, I can’t wait to do some writing about our results. Yesterday, Hailley and I brainstormed some academic journals that may be interested in our project results. We listed journals focusing on student engagement, library research, undergraduate research, and higher education as a whole. Next semester, we’ll probably start the publication process by writing about my role as an undergraduate research assistant. After we complete the 24 student interviews, we’ll start writing about our results. I think writing these results will be a really cool experience because there are so many different angles we can take with this project. For example, yesterday Hailley and I talked about writing an article strictly about students’ first two years of college and the student engagement opportunities they took advantage of during those two years. Overall, I think our presentations and publications will be incredible learning experiences and great opportunities to share our work.

See you in 2020!

In general, I’m feeling really optimistic about next semester. I’m already so proud of what Hailley and I have learned and accomplished from this project and I know it’ll only get better from here. I’m ready for a relaxing winter break but I also can’t wait to get started on my 2020 goals!

lets do it GIF by Denyse

[“Let’s do it” gif via Giphy]

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