Graduate questionnaire initial results

I pushed out a questionnaire to some graduates that I know through social media yesterday afternoon. It had a relatively good level of uptake with 36 respondents so far at time of writing.

The dataset is of course limited in a host of different ways and certainly isn’t representative of the wider graduate population however as a point of entry it does have some value. Unfortunately because of the Covid-19 situation and my relative isolation here in Bristol I am quite limited in the primary research that I’m able to conduct.

Here are the results as they stand right now:

There was actually a pretty even spread amongst my respondents in terms of how long ago they graduated.
This surprised me, I had expected a lot of them to be grouped together around the same time that I graduated.
Repondants were pretty evenly split between UG and PG study.
This was an interesting result and broadly matched with my preconceptions before asking the question. A majority of graduates felt like they’d lost academic confidence since graduating, hardly surprising as the need to work at an academic level drops off for most people after they leave university. What was more interesting was that the second most picked option was ‘gained a lot of confidence’. It’s too early to speculate why that might be but nevertheless it’s worth looking into more closely.
This result was surprising, it was a lot closer to a 50/50 split than I had presumed it might be.
As history has taught us, major decisions should never be made on a 52/48% split… more research is needed.
This one question was one of the main things that I wanted to ask. Obviously not everybody comes to university to ‘get ahead in the job market’ there are still people who come to learn for the sake of learning! That attitude to HE seems to have ebbed away over the past couple of decades though and this result seems to broadly match with that observation. This is important for this project as it’s these folks that expected more from their university experience that I want to target.
This surprised me, almost nobody has engaged in learning in relation to their hobbies or interests during this past few months and instead there’s an equal 40% split between no online learning at all and online learning related to career goals. This suggests to me that the people that are engaging with online learning are primarily interested in furthering their career through doing so. This is a significant piece of information and I will need to investigate it further for sure.

The final two questions were free text boxes where participants were asked to write in responses:

26 out of 37 respondents gave at least one example of something they would like to learn more about with 11 writing N/A. Within the 26 there was a really broad range of topics, some that were really specific such as ‘making vampire movies’ and many that were quite broad such as ‘politics’. Several mentioned the desire to learn coding and computer languages and a total of 4 people specifically mentioned their desire to learn something to help further their careers.

Of the respondents to this question 16 responded in the affirmative that they would like to use a platform like the one mentioned with another 6 who saw a benefit in it but probably wouldn’t use it themselves. A total of 14 people stated that they would not be interested. What was most interesting and useful though was seeing the kinds of topics that people were interested in collaborating on. The information here helps me to start thinking about the content I might try to include on my platform.

Conclusion:

As mentioned at the top, it’s hard to make too many assumptions from a sample size of 36 but from the results I have it seems clear that there is a desire for a graduate learning space online.

I found it interesting that when engaging in online learning the majority of respondents do so with the aim of furthering their career but when asked about which online groups they would be interested in forming almost all of them were more academic / personal interest focused.

This questionnaire has been helpful in that it’s allowed me to question my own preconceptions and learn more about how graduates really feel. My next step to follow up on some of these results will be to have a couple of more in-depth detailed qualitative conversations with graduates to try and probe deeper into how they feel.

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