At the start of my third week at The Brilliant Club (TBC), I learnt that I would not be able to interview project providers on The Nuffield Programme. The reason for this was most that although the Nuffield Research Placement scheme is run by TBC, it is funded by the Nuffield Foundation who did not approve of the project. This came as a slight shock because it meant that a significant part of the work I had done over the course of the past two weeks could not be used. However, there was fortunately a second option – I could quickly set up a different interview project where I would be to apply all of my recently acquired knowledge about the science of a research interview.
My new research project would be based on The Scholars Programme (TSP). TSP recruits, trains and employs PhD tutors to deliver university-style tutorials to small groups of pupils at elementary and secondary schools. The subjects of the research would be former tutors from TSP. The research, in the broadest terms, would investigate the impact of the tutors’ experience at TBC on their future career. It would seek to find out which, if any, parts of their tutoring experience were beneficial to their future job application, and whether, if at all, had the time at TBC helped them to accelerate their career growth. The research, other than that it would provide destination data about TBC’s ex-employees, would serve as a baseline for the improvement of propagation material for the recruitment and retention of tutors.
This new research project was delegated to me by TBC’s Midlands & Southwest regional director who also sent me a list of about 30 e-mail addresses of TBC’s former tutors who stated in an exit survey that they are happy to remain in touch with TBC. Just as I had done for my first project, I drafted a research description, a series of questions to be asked, and an informative e-mail for my potential interviewees. Given that TSP is TBC’s internal programme, there was no need to wait for any confirmation and once the above-mentioned documents were approved by my supervisor, I began contacting tutors almost immediately. Out of the 30, 8 responded and said they would be willing to take part in the interview. I received these responses throughout the week and therefore scheduled all interviews for the following, fourth, week.
During my third week at TBC, I also began working more intensively on the ‘2016 London Provider Feedback Survey’. As mentioned in my previous post, this survey was completed by previous year’s project providers on the Nuffield Research Placement scheme and my task was to summarize the data from the survey and come up with recommendations. The survey was completed by approximately 50 respondents from the Greater London & Surrey area and asked 4 principal types of questions: i) Yes-No-Maybe, ii) Select from the following, iii) Strongly Agree – Agree – Neither – Disagree – Strongly Disagree, and iv) Open-Ended Answer. I tallied all responses and transferred all data to relevant figures: pie charts, bar graphs, doughnut charts etc. I completed all the necessary data processing during this week and planned the report writing for the next.
Throughout all this time, my responsibility still was to scout for new contacts at London’s universities/research institutes and send out e-mails. The response rate was still very low but every new project provider recruited meant that one or more students could now have a life-changing experience, which is what kept me motivated to carry on working on this otherwise rather dull task.