Investigation: Low attendance in first year workshops.
I supervised Tom Morris, an MChem student, in a project investigating why first year workshop attendance was so low. A summary of the project can be found here.
Key findings: students often missed workshops for non-academic reasons, but timetabling was a significant issue and staff attitudes within the workshops were very important.
The student-as-partner model of research was crucial for this work. The issue of low attendance is hard for a member of staff to research directly because of the staff-student power dynamic. Tom’s position as a student also gave him real authority to interpret the responses of his participants.