Article Research / development

A large part of my article will be based on facts and figures rather than just personal opinions. This being the case I have decided to do some primary research into the sources available to me. I intend to find official university statistics to enhance and strengthen the reliability of the claims or opinion I shall make within the piece of writing.

I am beginning my search by using the internet as a quick and easy resource and searching terms such as:

  • University Statistics
  • University drop out rates
  • Leeds Met statistics
  • Leeds Met drop out rates

I found this link which relates directly to stats for Photographic Journalism at Leeds Met.

Research links:,mod=2&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8,mod=2&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=official+university+stats&oq=official+university+stats&gs_l=serp.3…88760.98575.0.98811.…1c.1.o2A1I9yWo9E&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=b29683b673c22eaa&bpcl=38625945&biw=1440&bih=737,mod=2&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_nf=3&tok=63lzyuaH3Hv5xDed9vpF4w&pq=official%20university%20stats&cp=12&gs_id=63&xhr=t&q=university+league+tables&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&oq=university+l&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=b29683b673c22eaa&bpcl=38625945&biw=1440&bih=737

HESA – the Higher Education Statistics Agency,mod=14&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I want to use both gathered stats (secondary and primary) and also opinions of current students to gather a further understanding of the situations and problems that students face within their final year of university and particularly with their dissertation. For this I am going to firstly post on the social networking group of Facebook and on our Official Photographic Journalism group to gather the attention of 3rd year students and see if any of them would be willing for me to ask them a few basic questions regarding their idea of how third year is/uni/dissertation.

From this I plan to gather the sources and use consistent screen prints as proof of my primary research material and also could possibly include these in the body as visuals within my article. I want to also interview students using a dictaphone or similar recording device to capture their thoughts/views of my questions.

Preparing my questions

In order to write a primary resourced article I must acquire relevant and accurate information from research materials such as:

  • Current Student Articles
  • Leeds Met Magazine
  • Articles based on similar information

This will give me a good idea of what style and approach other Journalists take towards writing these stories. Seeing and reading other established Journalists articles will give me some inspiration and hints towards how I should perhaps set mine out, what questions are relevant etc.

To start my question research, I posted on the Official Photographic Journalism page which students from all years have access to, in the hope to get in contact with some final year students to speak to. I think this is the easiest and most effective way of talking to a third year student about University.

article facebook

I plan to meanwhile, email a number of University contacts to hopefully get my hands on some official statistics to base my questions around.

Also, I thought of creating a questionnaire for students to fill out as a basis to generate questions and strengthen both my article and my primary research.

The problem I face is the relevance of my questions, and how likely they are to achieve an appropriate and fitting answer to input into my article.

I could also contact different people via email, Twitter, Facebook etc to hear their points of view on student pressures.

Questions I could ask: 

What do you think makes third year students drop out?

What do you find the hardest thing about being a final year student?

What to you think contributes to student pressure?

What do you think is the main contributor to pressure of a student is?

How many students do you know that have dropped out of university?

Email screenshots:

I started by emailing my course leader Karl Hodge asking him if he would be able to tell me the names of potential contacts to gather the information. Karl explained that due to the assignment being primary sourced and being a first time practising journalist I would have to try and gather this information entirely myself.

He gave me a few hints of who I could possibly ask but left the rest up to me, I found this quite daunting as I found realisation set in that I was doing this alone.

This made me realise I had to primarily gather all my research myself- without the help of someone to cut corners!

email s s

This being the case I took Karl’s advice and began my search for people to email within the University to try and get hold of some stats or data. I started by going onto the Leeds Met website, looking at contacts and research contacts and admin staff to try and get results.

leeds met ss

leeds met ss 2

email ss 2email ss 3email ss 4

leeds met ss 3email ss 5email ss 6email ss 7

email ss 7

Now I’m starting to worry about the amount of Primary resourced stats and data I have for my article. I planned originally having official statements- percentages, figures about different areas of students throughout University.

Due to the extent of this information and its confidentiality, I would have to file an official document to be approved for this evidence of research to use which can take up to 21 days. This being the case I have decided to start looking around the internet for other sources of figures to use as secondary information to guide my primary questions, interviews and images.

This has been quite a knock back in the progress to begin my article, it has made me realise that research and contacts are key to writing this kind of article.

My initial research and findings on Unistats could work in my favour towards inputting into my article.

Also, the final email I received gave me information of students who haven’t completed first and second year, which can be used as evidence of primary sourced statistics in article.

leeds met ss4

At this stage [14/12/12] I have returned back to Uni following my Tonsillectomy and spoken to course leader about my queries and concerns for my article. Karl and I spoke about this and determined a way to get around it.

I now am going to change the angle of my article and speak about Non-continuation and dropouts rather than it being mainly dissertation pressure, as through research I’ve found this isn’t a main contributor to why students drop out as it tends to be more frequent in Y1 and Y2.

Now I have this angle thats evolved from the research circumstances I have more of a clear pathway to continue with my primary and secondary research.

I plan to use Secondary sourced Statistics and Data combined with my Primary sourced table.

Primary sourced- I will conduct an online survey for students to fill out to gather and acquire my own reasons for what I write. Also, I plan to speak to and interview students who have dropped out of university and students who know of people who have and their reasons for it.

All my research I gather for this article, once complete, will allow me to a clear pathway to write my student-based article.


initially wanted to write an article on-

Drop out rates, university losing its value, more people going without being sure etc…

  • survey
  • advertise on facebook

the conveyor belt of education- most tested generation ever. these young people have passed the most exams- get stats for these and info.

academia is the route to success- quote

for generations

tony blair wanted government targets for higher education rates for degrees

he wanted a large percentage of the population to go to university.

use stats HESA-

45% of full-time first degree leavers enter managerial & professional jobs

use starbucks as an example for working hard at university and not going onto a job in their chosen field… ring head office and ask if they have any info on the number of degree grad applicants and of those who get jobs. 

how much of the population went to uni in the past compared to now.



both have their own universities

how i ask the questions- positive, compliment them. quality of staff. really interested in finding out possible stats for job applicants


baby-boomers target audience

WANTED: part-time

The conveyor belt of education promises students to end up in a high end job of rewarded hard earned efforts. For todays students, gruelley tested in academia throughout our lives [include percentage] this is believed to end us up in the best job possible. But in todays academic climate- with so many students flying out of universties into the wide world of work . who is more likely to get a job?

baby-boomers believing the world to be better if you study. challenging what we are led to believe.

expectations born from the baby-boomers and their attitudes towards hard-work paying off.

oscar wilde “you can never be over-dressed or over-educated”

“These figures are particularly worrying at a time when thousands of young people are gearing up to go off to university with the hope of improving their job prospects,”

Through copious amounts of research, I have come to the decision to not take this idea forward any further. Despite working on this for a few months, I have realised that the Primary Research factor of this article is just proving to be too much of an issue to write a strong, self-resourced article. 

Instead I have decided to write a music-based article on a York band- Littlemores and interview the lead singer exclusively to write a strong, primary resourced article. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s