BCM210 Research Project

The primary focus for my BCM210 research project will be on the effects of heavy drinking in a social setting on the academic wellbeing of UOW students.

To many people who attend University, being a student is more of a lifestyle than an occupation. For some, the lifestyle is the only reason University would ever be an option. A major component of this ‘University student’ lifestyle is socialising and meeting new friends. We use the term ‘socialising’ – which can also be interpreted as a euphemism for getting drunk, especially in Australia where we have a majority of people that consider drinking to be the most social thing we do. As a campus student myself, I have had many experiences with peer pressure when it comes to drinking, and it can be quite difficult to turn down a night out, even if you have an assessment due or are behind in your classes. As I have experienced this first hand and am intrigued to delve deeper into this area of focus, I have decided that the purpose of my research project will be to discover the effects of heavy drinking in a social setting on the academic wellbeing of UOW students.

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With my primary question being: ‘To what extent does heavy drinking in a social setting effect the academic wellbeing of UOW students?’, I am hoping to discover more than just numbers and statistics. By the phrase ‘academic wellbeing’, I am referring to how the students feel about their studies, classes, assignments, being at uni etc. For some people, it can become embarrassing to talk about their overall results in academics, so my approach will be more in the way of understanding how the students feel about university (e.g.: if they could have done better, if they were happy with their results, how often they skip class due to hangovers, how often they will start an assignment last minute etc.). So with this research, I am hoping to find out the impact that going out and drinking multiple times during the week has on how people approach their university work in terms of preparing for classes, starting assignments before the due date, having a solid study routine etc.

It would seem obvious that my target audience is young people, but there are many aspects of this question/research topic that will need to be considered for me to achieve the best response in terms of diversity. I also am not aiming to stereotype young uni students as ‘heavy drinkers’, so I need to consider that some people do not excessively drink and that I need to ask questions that will not give conclusions that are biased towards my expectations. So, in order to achieve these things, I will be considering things such as (but not limited to):

  • On-campus and off-campus students
  • How many times a week on average students go out
  • Male and female students
  • What year of university the students are undertaking

My main method of collecting this data will be using the website survey monkey, allowing me to collect anonymous surveys. These surveys will be shared to fellow campus students and also non-campus students through social media, and will allow me to obtain quantitative data and statistics on the students. Along with quantitative data, I am aiming to obtain qualitative data and information on first hand experiences with excessive drinking and academic performance through conducting multiple anonymous interviews with a vast range of people. I feel like as well as doing an anonymous survey, having one on one interviews with people will allow for more honest answers about how much people drink and how often they drink, as the personal conversation will allow people to be more comfortable providing that sort of information.

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Through several publications that I have read, I have gathered quantitative and qualitative information that would suggest this area of research is worth doing. An excellent example of this is an article by Marianne Stenger (2013) highlighting the need for more action from universities to halt binge drinking, using findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which state “nearly 40% of all citizens over the age of 15 report binge drinking, with one in three teenagers admitting that they consume so much alcohol at least once a month that they lose their memory”. It is statistics such as these, and highlighted effects of binge drinking such as falling grades, bodily harm, guilt and lack of sleep that suggest it is worth researching how heavy drinking in a social setting effect the academic wellbeing of UOW students.

Reference list:

N.A., 2014, ‘Alcohol and your studies’, Self-help information article, Flinders University, Viewed 27th March 2016,                                                             http://www.flinders.edu.au/current-students/healthandcounselling/self-help/alcohol-studies.cfm

Smith, O.R. 2016, ‘How Does Drinking Affect Students?’, Article, Global Post, Viewed 24th March 2016,                                                    http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/news/the-role-of-universities-in-tackling-australias-binge-drinking-culture-5113/

Stenger, M 2013, ‘The Role of Universities in Tackling Australia’s Binge Drinking Culture’, Educational blog, informED, Viewed 28th March 2016, http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/news/the-role-of-universities-in-tackling-australias-binge-drinking-culture-5113/

 

The first step in learning.

Imagine if we had trusted what others thought and never wondered what it was like to land on the moon. Imagine if we had never wondered if there was a more efficient way to harvest electricity than burning fossil fuels. Due to the curiosity of others, we understand more than just a hypothesis of what the moon’s environment is like and we understand that we can harvest energy for electricity without a significant impact on our environment. It is due to curiosity that the human race has been able to move forward, as curiosity is the first step in learning, and learning allows us to move past our current state.

Humans are generally curious beings because we desire closure. We will never be happy to just know that things work the way they do and that things are the way they are. We always want to know why, which I believe to be a good thing. This reflects my own experiences as I am one who wants to learn. Without knowledge, my life would appear to be purposeless.

As a curious person, I hope that I become so invested in learning and moving forward that I can make an impact on the world, and in 15 years time say to myself, ‘imagine if I never studied Communications and Media’.