A brief opinion piece
This part of the portfolio is an opinion on the study and the findings. My study looked into the challenges that working students face and how working as a student impacts education performance. The findings that the study generated are included as a summary in section two of the portfolio. A total of 21 questionnaires were distributed and collected for data analysis. Names were not included in the questionnaires and instead anonymous tags were used to enhance anonymity. As Parveen and Showkat (2017) note anonymity is important for surveys for it helps protect the privacy of participants and confidentiality of their private information. This was a sensitive study dealing with personal information on matters such as the nature of job done, hours worked, and whether the participants lived with their parents. Anonymous name tags were necessary. Informed consent was also obtained from all these participants after they were briefed that the study was aimed at gathering data to be used solely for educational purposes. Parveen and Showkat (2017) outline Informed consent as the other important ethical consideration in research. In this opinion section, I will look into the main finding of my study and how this finding is likely to impact policy and decision making.
The main finding of my study is that working as a student comes with numerous challenges that include missing vacations, inadequate hours to complete assignments, missing lectures, and overall fatigue. It also emerged from this study that most students work to foot their tuition fees and that most of them do not mind working and studying simultaneously. The other important finding is that students worked mainly in odd jobs that paid average wages but these still made a positive impact on the financial status of these students. A study conducted by Muluk in the year 2019 revealed that part-time jobs for students had become the trend. This also finding supports the arguments made by Rapacon in a recent article published on CNBC where he links the rise in part-time work for students to the growth of virtual/distant learning. With the option of taking some courses from home, more and more students are entering the job market and working part-time. The income they earn enables them to foot bills and clear a portion of their tuition (Rapacon, 2015). I noted that finding the 21 students who I interviewed was not difficult, an indicator that there is a large number of students working part-time.
The study also revealed that most students worked in odd jobs. The most common jobs were hoteliers, domestic workers, shipping lines, photography, and marketing work. The average wage for these jobs averaged 50 HK$. Another interesting finding is that they were mainly obtained from newspaper adverts. From these findings, it is accurate to say that part-time jobs are the most appropriate for students due to their flexibility. College life requires that students attend physical classes at some point and this makes full-time jobs unfavourable for college students due to strict rules and regulations that surround full-time jobs. These students want jobs where there is freedom and flexibility. In a 2009 study of part-time work schedules for students in Scotland Barron & Anastasiadou established that students prefer part-time jobs since they can work more than one job depending on their availability. The part-time nature also enables students to compare jobs and choose those that pay better and align with their career expectations (Barron & Anastasiadou, 2009). The study also established that the most common part-time jobs that are available for students are in hospitality management.
The findings of the study are relevant and useful for policymakers, colleges, and students themselves for the “working student” trend has impacts for the society, colleges as well as students. One of the concerns that arise with a great number of students working part-time is the quality of education. Striking a work- college balance is not easy and as life puts more pressure on students there is a possibility that they will put more focus on work and their studies are likely to suffer. As the study revealed a considerable number of participants in this study acknowledged that combining work with studies affected their studies. This finding aligns to the findings of a 2018 study conducted by Neyt, Omey, Baert & Verhaest that established a positive correlation between student work and academic performance. The society will suffer greatly when half-baked graduates enter the job market or when a large number of students fail to complete their college in pursuit of money from these part-time jobs (Neyt, Omey, Baert & Verhaest., 2018).
Policymakers need to move into action and enact policy regulations to ensure that the education-student work balance is not distorted. Suggestions include limiting the number of hours that students work, confining students working to the areas near the college, prohibiting students pursuing highly engaging courses from work, and outlawing students working in dangerous environments. This way colleges through the government will be able to curb absenteeism and lack of engagement by students. Failure to take action will have repercussions for students, educational institutions, and the society at large (Neyt, Omey, Baert & Verhaest, 2018). If need be the government can completely outlaw student working to uphold the quality of education. People can always work after graduating from College.
The evidence collected in this study is very strong. Several recent studies related to the topic of student working were consulted and as it emerges in the sections above the findings aligned. Some of the things that were already known about this topic is that students are increasingly entering the job market to fill part-time positions, that most of these students work in odd jobs, and also that the students work these jobs to be able to settle their bills and tuition fees. The fact that the findings of this study are similar to the findings of the studies that have been cited above is evidence that the study gathered strong and accurate information that has great relevance for students and policymakers.
The main limitation of my study is that it used a small sample and this limits the generalizability of the findings.
To conclude, the study has collected data that has proved that the number of students taking on part-time jobs while still working is on the rise. The study has also shown that this trend of students working while still in school comes with the risk of lowering educational standards.
Original data and findings
- Consent note
I am [insert name] pursuing a bachelor’s degree in [ insert course]. I am conducting a study on the challenges that student workers face and also extending to the relationship between student work and academic performance. The findings will be solely used for academic performance and your anonymity is guaranteed. No names will be used and this information will not be revealed to anyone outside the academic setup. Basically, it will be used in a presentation in class. The study is simple for the questionnaire only comprises of [number of questions in questionnaire]
I kindly request you to participate in the study
Confirmation of consent
ii. Management of the research experience The process began with the drafting of a questionnaire. The questionnaire was guided by the learning outcomes of the portfolio and is attached below. After the questionnaire was developed the next step was seeking consent through the consent form attached above.
Barron, P. and Anastasiadou, C., 2009. Student part-time employment: Implications, challenges
and opportunities for higher education. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality
Management, 21(2), pp1-10
Muluk, S. 2017. Part-Time Job and Students’ Academic Achievement. Jurnal Ilmiah
Peuradeun 5(3), pp 361-381
Neyt, B., Omey, E., Verhaest, D. and Baert, S., 2018. Does student work really affect
educational outcomes? A review of the literature. Journal of Economic Surveys, 33(3),
Parveen, H. and Showkat, N. 2017. Research Ethics. Available at
Rapacon, S., 2015. More College Students Are Working While Studying. [online] Cnbc.com.
Available at: <https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/29/more-college-students-are-working-while-studying.html> [Accessed 17 November 2020].