Research Reflection

Hey and welcome back, finally the project has been completed and BCM212 can be drawn to a close. I’d like to extend a thanks to everyone who helped me with my project and a special shout out to Susan’s Friday 12:30 class – you guys are special!

For this assessment I intended to determine the impact; be that positive or negative that co-curricular activities (sport/exercise) has on university students. This is a topic that personally interested me as I am a very active person who enjoys playing team sports and exercising regularly. I feel as though having these commitments and desire to remain physically fit can impede my ability to stay on top of university assessments. This is not always a case of simply not having enough time to devote to tasks, however not having the energy and adequate levels of concentration to effectively study can be an issue. I originally wanted to encompass all aspects of co-curricular activity, however being such a broad topic I decided to narrow it down and focus on the sport/exercise component.

The first aspect that was essential to my research was understanding the nature of physical activity in relation to university studies. By applying outcomes learned in week 1: curiosity (Bowles, 2017). This included showing interest and engaging with the topic by conducting preliminary research which would compliment primary research that would be investigated later on in the research project. In Rees’ study; Sports participation and academic performance (2010), I discovered that a key factor in academic performance can often be a lack of motivation due to exterior commitments that in turn hinder a student’s ability to perform. This guided the focus questions I ended up using for my survey, as it was important to understand the reasons behind student stress.
When considering the desired outcome of a research project it is important to be socially responsible, by considering the content within as well as the intended audience. Kate Bowles (2017) identifies the social responsibility of a researcher as a balance between curiosity and reflexivity. When applied to the research project I have conducted, I focused on ensuring the final project would be an easily readable, accessible and concise composition of analysed data attained from a relevant target audience which for me was university students. It is my social obligation to ensure the people involved in this task feel as though their input is both useful and valued by the researcher. In addition to this, the data gained was thoughtfully gathered with the permission of my survey respondents. By attaining their consent to use the data they had given me; particularly the focus group, I ensured that I had considered the respect, integrity and privacy concepts which had been studied within the course. After surveying each of my respondents I attained a signature which enabled me to use their data with informed consent and full knowledge that their input was being used for research purposes.


Throughout the research task I faced challenges which required me to be both flexible and creative with my approach to how I would overcome these obstacles. As a researcher it is essential to have these two qualities, remaining dynamic and ensuring there is more than one method of research applicable in achieving a desired goal. This came in conducting my focus group which proved to be the most difficult aspect of the assignment. I intended to have the focus group as one collective, interviewed at the same time. Such was the schedule of my focus group I had to devote time to seeing each person individually to understand how it was that sport and exercise affected their life as a university student. When considering the work of Andrade and Peluso (2005) who argue that mental health can be a barrier for learning, it was helpful to have my students in a more intimate setting – which allowed them to be more open and honest with their answers. In the future, it is certainly something to consider for group discussions, particularly if the participants are unknown to one another; meaning they may be less inclined to provide open or honest answers.
Despite not having the group together to inform a flowing conversation, I was still happy with my efforts to extract quality information which formed the backbone of my research.

In summation, I enjoyed undertaking this task as I believed it would be a similar issue for a number of other university students who have co-curricular commitments of the same nature. In the future I will ensure that my time management is of the highest priority, as it is often difficult to co-ordinate assessment tasks from different subjects whilst also applying sufficient time to one as lengthy and detailed as this research project was.


References

Andrade, L & Peluso, M, 2005. Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood, Clinics Science Journal, vol 60. no 1.

Bowles, K, 2017. BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication, Week 1: Curiosity, Lecture, University of Wollongong Australia.

Bowles, K, 2017. BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication, Week 3: Socially Responsible Design, Lecture, University of Wollongong Australia.

Rees, D & Sabia, J, 2010. Sports participation and academic performance: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Economics of Education Review, vol 29 no 5, pp.751-759.

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About alexdebs

Second year Bachelor of Communications and Media studies student at the University of Wollongong. I am an aspiring journalist with a passion for sport, music and travel.
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