TABLE OF CONTENTS
Task 1: Research question & objectives
Task 2: Literature review
Task 3: Research philosophy, strategy and methodology
Task 4: Ethical approach
Task 5: Questionnaire design
Task 6: Analysis and presentation of data
Task 7: Evaluation of research
Appendix 1 – Tables & Graphs
Appendix 2 - Information Sheet
Appendix 3 - Consent Form
Appendix 4 - Questionnaire
Research question & objectives
An evaluation of the impact part-time working has on the academic performance of undergraduate business students studying at a post 1992 university in the UK.
1. Identify the distribution of part-time employment hours amongst students.
2. Explore the reasons why students choose to engage in part-time employment.
3. Investigate the knock-on effects part-time working has on academic performance.
The number of full-time undergraduate students engaged in part-time employment has increased over recent years (Robotham, 2009). Concerns surrounding the negative impact of work on academic performance has generated a wealth of literature.
Humphrey (2006) found a reduction in the end of year average for working students and estimated
38% could have achieved a higher degree had they not been employed. Carney et al (2005) identified a positive correlation between longer hours of work and increasing adverse effects on study. On a similar theme, Manthei & Gilmore (2005) recommend that working hours be restricted to 15 per week.
Working students regularly cite negative effects of employment as tiredness, missing lectures and rushed assignments, but there are also perceived benefits. Many feel that working improves communication and time-management skills, confidence and enhances employability (Curtis 2007).
In a study by Nguyen et al (2005), students believed that employment attributes were gained solely from working, and that university contributed little to preparation for post-graduate work.
The disruption to study by term-time employment was disputed by Watts (2002) who found no difference between the year end marks of working and non-working students, whilst Greenbank et al (2009) suggest work may be beneficial if relevant to the course. The impact of work on studytime may also be over-estimated since Robotham (2009) found that leisure activities were more likely to be sacrificed. Furthermore, according to Curtis (2007), students who have never worked perceive the negative effects of employment greater than students in employment.
Despite the differing arguments, two features of student employment are found consistently; the first being why students work, and the second, the type of work undertaken. Students work primarily to cover living costs, claiming that student loans/grants and parental contributions are inadequate (Manthei & Gilmore 2005). The type of work undertaken is highlighted by Robotham
(2009) and falls mostly into the categories of retail and leisure for which students are paid around
National Minimum Wage. Consequently, one potential danger, in the current period of above average inflation and a curb on wages, is students may be forced to work an increasing number of hours. Since any positive effects of working depends on a manageable work–study balance
(Manthei & Gilmore, 2005) further research into the distribution of working hours and the knock-on effects is warranted.
In this study we draw upon both a positivist and a phenomenological research philosophy.
The aim of positivism is to measure and analyse students’ attitudes and behaviour using quantitative methods which can be numerically presented and statistically analysed. Positivism is concerned with the development and testing of hypotheses which are designed to support or criticise a particular theory, thereby promoting deductive reasoning (Lapan et al 2011).
The purpose of…