Monday, February 13, 2017

Research Blog #2: Scouting the Territory

I want to somewhat centralize my topic to a more specific subtopic without limiting my research options. However, I am sure that I want to conduct my research in this realm because of my prior knowledge of qualitative research and analysis as well as my existing interest in behavioral changes between different paradigms.

I familiarized myself on a similar topic for my analysis paper, so I already have some material on the topic. For my analysis paper, I analyzed how the privatization of universities changed the administrative goals in terms of branding a reputation and how that change affects student life. For my research project, I find that when I search “the business of higher education” it more so focuses on the micro and macro economics of colleges. While I do think it will be helpful to be familiar with these concepts, I want to focus more on qualitative data. In order to concentrate my data, keywords I found more relevant included college branding, private vs. public college, and privatization of education.

I primarily used Google Scholar to find articles that seemed important for research. I found this database helpful because since it is an academic database, there are many articles that are more research oriented, as compared to just a regular Google search. I also found it helpful to look at the related searches on Google scholar. The suggestions for the privatization of education include key words and subtopics that may be helpful for future research (e.g. marketization, increased choice). - This link is an ebook of entitled Choosing Choice: School Choice in International Perspective. The first chapter is a case study of Chile’s National Voucher Plan, which essentially examines the benefits and challenges of privatization of education. - I predict that I will refer back to this article frequently. Although it does not directly talk about my research topic, it is a exploratory study of survey data that compares the criteria that public and private university students used when selecting where to attend college.

Qualitative research is characteristically subjective, so there are inevitably differing opinions on the topic. However, as of now, I believe that both institutions have pros and cons, although my bias leans towards private institutions in terms of academic and public universities in terms of cost efficiency because may public institutions have prestigious reputations, as well.

Research Blog #1: Initial Topic Idea

For my research topic, I want to focus on the business, primarily the qualitative aspects, of higher education. In doing so, I want to compare how the transition to a monetized mindset has affected private and public universities, the benefits and challenges that come along with privatization, and its affect on the academic and social norms among students.

I chose to centralize my research to this subtopic of higher education because I wanted to incorporate ideas I've learned from my major. Rather than choosing a topic I'm not very familiar with, choosing a topic that I have previous experience in will help me make insightful connections that go beyond the surface of systematic research.