International Research Skills

Assessment Task;
Graduation week is the highlight of the University calendar. The occasion is an opportunity for your family, friends, and those who have helped you along the way, to join you in celebrating your success.
However, not all universities arrange graduation ceremonies for their students.
For this assessment you are required to prepare a short research essay of 2,500 words in total, excluding references, on the following topic:
Waste of time and money, or the greatest moment of your life? An investigation of students opinions on graduation ceremonies.
Devise and carry out semi-structured interviews with a small sample of 5 fellow students where you are currently studying this year (i.e. in the UK or abroad). The students must come from different countries to reflect prior international educational experiences.
Youll obviously have to refer to the material on SOL for this unit, your two core texts and other references on the topic to help you to devise and analyse your semi-structured interviews in both research and theoretical terms.
Look particularly at Bell 2010 chapter 9: Planning and conducting interviews, pages 160-176.
Think carefully about the data you need and do not need, and address the ethical research issues, e.g. anonymisation of respondents. See Bell 2010 chapter 3 Ethics and integrity in research pages 44-62. You must complete an ethics release form and attach it to your assignment.
Is there a set instruction you can use? Are there any things you need to think about when carrying out a semi-structured interview with people whose first language may not be English?
Limit the time of each interview to about 10 minutes per participant. Think how you will store your data notes / recording? Analyse your results, then:
Write up your key findings and critically discuss them in an essay of 2,500 words, including any recommendations as appropriate. Comment on how representative and valid your sample is in this context. Include examples from participants in your essay, but make sure these are short and to the point. In your conclusion, include a short reflection about what you have learned from carrying out these small-scale international semi-structured interviews.
Include key information in an appendix. Full transcriptions are not required.
Make sure you write in formal academic style and remember that just describing what you did and your findings is not analysis!
The completed assessment will take the following simple essay form (you can use headings in your essay):
Title Page: State the unit code, the title of the unit, the full title of your assessment, and your student identifier.
Introduction: (200 words) briefly introduce the topic; include the parameters of the assessment, what you will include and why, what you will not include, and why not.
Development: (2,000 words) develop your assessment, with the most important points first, least important last. Use headings and paragraphing to show new topics / ideas etc.
Conclusion: (300 words) summarise the content of your assessment; do not introduce new points / ideas at this stage.
References: – (not included in your word count) this must include all references in your assessment which are to come from a range of sources. At this level around 15 different sources are expected. Referencing throughout your assessment and in this section must use the Harvard system correctly. See Referencing the Harvard Way:

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