Research Project Development

In the previous post, I introduced my research task proposal which explores the present status of books and their growing irrelevance in the university environment. I have often questioned the reasons why students choose to purchase and view books digitally rather than physically or vice-versa. From my research, I hope to gain insight into the behaviours, attitudes and trends of students present within the university students environment, and the agents that contribute to this by focusing on the sample of current University of Wollongong students.

Over the past few weeks, I have refined the project and its accompanying research method by integrating feedback from students, academics and researchers. To accumulate qualitative primary research data I intend to distribute surveys and conduct interviews over the next two weeks. The use of surveys will enable me to obtain information from current University of Wollongong students on knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and behaviour intentions providing overall generalised and anonymous results using fixed questions. These will be conducted through Google Forms and distributed through social media, and educational platforms. Interviews on the other hand, will allow me to work directly with the respondent in an unstructured approach to gather present perspectives and attitudes towards technological advances as society begins to move away from books in their traditional written form and the impacts and/or benefits this has on individuals in their new form. Where available these will be conducted in person, or if unavailable over email.

My research project is effectively progressing as significant secondary research has been conducted surrounding the topic itself, and in relation to the university environment. With the survey ready to distribute over the next week I am looking forward to the responses that will be generated whilst taking into consideration all ethical guidelines. My project plan, communication plan and risk matrix have been completed to keep me on track with my progress and prevent and eliminate any potential risks.

I will be updating this site regularly so those who participate or express interest in the project can follow its progress, there will also be updates posted on twitter @katee_scott.


Research Proposal

Research Question: Is technology influencing university students to transition from physical books to digital books?

My research project is based on the present status of books in the university environment and their growing irrelevance. This is an investigation into the changing technology of books and reading, and the impact it is having now and may have in the future. My hypothesis suggests that “books are a dying phenomena”, and I am curious as to why students choose to purchase and view books digitally rather than physically.  This concept was formed as textbooks are becoming easily accessible in digital versions, with the idea first surfacing when the Department of Education began distributing laptops to year 9 students in 2009 with School’s Choice reflecting on how “the laptops are moving the classroom environment into the future.”

I hope to investigate the agents that contribute to this and reflect on how it has changed from past generations to now, and if the evolution of technology has played a major role in this.

For my primary research, I intend to use a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies including personal reflection, questionnaires (conducted through an online site used to determine preferences and reasons behind the choices of participants) and observation (consisting primarily of viewing actions in the university environment) which will be supplemented by extensive secondary research consisting of, but not limited to, newspaper and journal articles that I find relevant to the progression of the changing physicality of books. I intend to focus my primary research on university students, but will draw on secondary research outside of this.

While undertaking this research, I intend to integrate ­­all ethical considerations surrounding the data I plan to collect, as well as being conscious of the potential of any personal bias. I aim to respect the privacy of all participants ensuring I have their consent to share information and responses which they supply.

Through this research project, I hope to learn, understand and discover the debated role of books and technology in the university environment. Through both my primary and secondary research, I aim to broaden my understanding of the topic by reflecting upon it at a macro scale. I hope that this reveals the future of books and the impacts this will have on the lives and education of university students.