Since the original research proposal, I have made some progress on the project!
The core of my research topic remains the same – The future of university accommodation in Australia, and the ways it could be improved for future students.
I have decided to take a more localised approach towards the research, taking my primary data from student accommodation at a single Australian university.
Existing research provides background and a basis for my own research.
A study from the UK suggests that students are highly sensitive to the accommodation’s distance from the university, and prefer to live in mixed gender dorms (Oppewal, et al., 2005). However, this research is based on sample of only 152 students from a single university, and cannot be used in isolation.
Social aspects play a significant role in the retention of students at university, and students provide emotional support for each other when living on campus, keeping them from dropping out (Wilcox, et al., 2005). They are more satisfied with their accommodation when there are more communal areas to socialise in (Mogenet & Rioux, 2014). Students who do live in high density accommodation tend to drink regularly, and more consume alcohol at dangerous levels than students off campus (Cross, et al., 2009).
In contrast to this, quiet study areas and group collaboration areas are also of importance to students (Price, et al., 2003). Access to computers was also a large demand in one study (Price, et al., 2003), but I feel that this factor has changed since the article’s writing 14 years ago, as most students now have their own technology. Finally, university accommodation appears to be important for international students, providing physical as well as social security (Paltridge, et al., 2010). Students find the environment supportive in breaking cultural barriers and making friends (Paltridge, et al., 2010).
To increase the project’s chances of success, I have utilised tools to control research development. These take the form of Gantt charts and a risk analysis.
In addition, I have begun the collection of primary data through an initial survey. At the time of writing, this survey has 65 responses, and has revealed a few expected trends.
The students surveyed seem to be drawn towards university accommodation for it’s social life and community aspects.
Another trend forming is that the accommodation is too expensive for many students.
Respondents show a yearning for more social activities and community engagement, which correlates with community being a strong factor for living on campus.
I am excited to delve deeper into this topic, and cannot wait to share more of my findings!
Cross, J. E., Zimmerman, D. & O’Grady, M. A., 2009. Residence Hall Room Type and Alcohol Use Among College Students Living on Campus. Environment and Behavior, 41(4), pp. 583-603.
Mogenet, J.-L. & Rioux, L., 2014. Students’ satisfaction with their university accommodation. Nordic Psychology, 66(4), pp. 303-320.
Oppewal, H., Poria, Y., Ravenscroft, N. & Speller, G., 2005. Student preferences for university accommodation: an application of the stated preference approach.. In: R. G. Mira, ed. Housing, Space and Quality of Life. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 113-124.
Paltridge, T., Mayson, S. & Schapper, J., 2010. The contribution of university accommodation to international student security. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(4), pp. 353-364.
Price, I., Matzdorf, F., Smith, L. & Agahi, H., 2003. The impact of facilities on student choice of university. Facilities, 21(10), pp. 212-222.
Wilcox, P., Winn, S. & Fyvie-Gauld, M., 2005. ‘It was nothing to do with the university, it was just the people’: the role of social support in the first‐year experience of higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 30(6), pp. 707-722.