Proposal Title

Employing qualitative research methods to understand the first-year experience

Track

Research Proposal / Assessment of Student Learning

Proposal Abstract

This study presents findings from research that employed qualitative methods to understand the first-year experience. Participants were students enrolled in a mandatory first semester student success course. Three instructional strategies were used to generate data: reflective journal writing, visual narratives and student drawings. Qualitative analysis was used to identify emergent themes. Findings provide novel insights about the first-year experience from the student’s perspective. These new understandings have important implications for assessing and improving teaching and learning in higher education.

Proposal Description

1. The title, “Employing qualitative research methods to understand the first-year experience,” matches the proposed session’s content. The poster presentation will demonstrate the use of qualitative methods in SoTL.

2. Research Questions:

  • What are students’ perceptions of their first-year experiences?
  • What are the student learning outcomes and benefits derived from employing specific instructional strategies in a first-year seminar?

3. The research is grounded in theories of student development and learning (e.g., Dewey, 1933; Chickering & Reisser 1993; Tinto, 2006; Ryan & Deci, 2000) and qualitative research (e.g., Banks, 2001; Creswell, 2014; Patton, 2002).

4. Qualitative methods were employed to understand the first-year experience from the student perspective. Three instructional strategies were used with students enrolled in a first-year seminar to generate data: reflective journal writing, visual narratives and student drawings. Qualitative analysis was used to identify emergent themes.

5. The project is completed. The findings provide a deeper understanding of the challenges first-year students face during their transition to the university environment.

6. The study illustrates how qualitative research methods can be used to improve content, practice and student learning outcomes from a first-year seminar.

7. The research will be presented using students’ work. Excerpts from journal entries, and images of students’ visual narratives and drawings.

Session Format

Poster Session

Publication Type and Release Option

Event

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Mar 29th, 4:00 PM Mar 29th, 5:00 PM

Employing qualitative research methods to understand the first-year experience

This study presents findings from research that employed qualitative methods to understand the first-year experience. Participants were students enrolled in a mandatory first semester student success course. Three instructional strategies were used to generate data: reflective journal writing, visual narratives and student drawings. Qualitative analysis was used to identify emergent themes. Findings provide novel insights about the first-year experience from the student’s perspective. These new understandings have important implications for assessing and improving teaching and learning in higher education.