On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) hosted a Research Methods Workshop for seventeen community college and university research projects that were recently approved for funding as part of HEQCO-RFP-006: The Role of Student Services in Support of Access, Retention and Quality.
The intent of the one-day workshop was to introduce the research projects and to discuss various approaches that are being taken in the assessment and evaluation of the various student service interventions.
After a welcoming speech from board member Catherine Henderson, where she explained the importance of student services in Ontario’s postsecondary institutions, Richard Wiggers, Research Director at HEQCO led the day by introducing the student services projects. Project team members had an opportunity to introduce themselves as well as their projects.
The introduction was followed by three panel discussions of some of the most common research methods that will be employed in the assessments:
- Panel 1: Student Surveys
Panelists: Al Carfagnini, Nipissing University; Carol A. Miles, Carleton University; Rod Skinkle, Academica Group Inc.; and Glenn Stalker, Institute for Social Research
Panelists gave a thought-provoking presentation on the benefits of surveys, when to use them; how to sample, design and administer surveys; as well as frequent errors and issues faced.
- Panel 2: Focus Groups
Panelists: Miriam Kramer, EPI; Jennifer Massey, Queen’s University; John Pollard, Institute for Social Research; Sybil Wilson, Niagara College
Panelists led a thorough discussion on what focus groups are, why and how to use them, and the challenges faced when administering them.
- Panel 3: Institutional and Student Data
Panelists: Jesse Barraza, Brock University; Torben Drewes, Trent University; Marjorie McColm, George Brown College; A. Abigail Payne, McMaster University
Panelists discussed how to gather and/or gain access to data, and challenges faced when gathering and analyzing large data sets with multiple variables.
The audience included approximately 80 representatives from Ontario’s universities and colleges; researchers; as well as Ministry of Training, College and University (MTCU) personnel and HEQCO staff.
For more information about the student services projects, please see Funded Research.