Learning, growing: A student's view

July 23, 1999

"The project gave me the chance to help a voluntary organisation and made me consider the role of researchers more carefully.

I believe that students tend not to place much importance on the researcher's role. They also tend to overlook the amount of work that goes in to any applied social research and believe that it is more fun than it is hard work.

It has been fun, but at the same time I have put a large amount of effort into this - more than anything else in my academic career.

The experience has been enjoyable and has taught me a lot. Some of the things I can use day to day, but some I will use only if I complete more social research.

The skills I have gained are confidence in myself and in my ideas. I have worked on my own for this project, even though at times it would have been nice to have someone else going through the same things as me.

I did, however, learn to be more confident in my ideas and in how I put these into action. When a local supermarket was suggested for the setting for my interviews, I wrote to them immediately to speed up the process of the research.

I found the opportunities to meet and converse with people the best part of the project. I came across some colourful characters who have made an impression on me, and this also helped me become more confident. I have played a role that I have never before, that of responsible researcher.

Other transferable skills I have acquired could include time management, which I was very good at when the project commenced, but as time went on, these skills started to slip with the deadlines for other assignments looming.

I believe that I have made the most of the time I have spent and that my time-management skills are improving, although the latter part of the project - writing the client report - was the most difficult part for me, so I put it off for longer than I should have done.

Through doing this applied social work project, I have learnt the value of real-world research. In classes we learn about how to conduct research and what methods are most often used and why, but in a normal dissertation you do not usually get the chance to use these skills and lessons."

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