Main Objective:   To study a group of recent college graduates in an effort to explore strategies used by a variety of people to navigate the challenges of a college education


Research Instructions: 

Interview at least 4 recent college graduates to answer your questions about the strategies they used to help them reach their goal of college graduation.  If possible, conduct most of the interviews in person since it is easier to get the best information from the interview when you are with the interviewee face-to-face. 


Selection Criteria for Interviewees:

1. Have a mixture of males and females

2. (If possible) all interviewees have graduated within the last 8 years with an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s Degree

3. If possible, interviewees should be from different age ranges

4. Two of the interviewees should not be relatives


Interview Questions:

The list below is a minimum list of questions to ask each interviewee. You should develop a few more questions of interest to you and then add those to this list. Then be sure to ask each of your interviewees that same group of questions.  By having the same list of questions for each interviewee, you will have an easier time in writing up your research analysis because it will allow you to more effectively compare question responses across individuals.


In addition to your list of questions, feel free to ask follow-up questions to help you fully understand their responses to each of your questions. 


1. What were some of the challenges you faced in earning your degree?


2. Then go through each of those challenges one by one, asking the interviewee how he/she overcame that challenge.


3. What type of support services or resources did you use at the college or outside the college to help you with your challenges?


4.  What did you enjoy the most about being in college?


5. What would you do differently if you had to get your degree again?


6. How did you manage your time during college to get everything done?


7. How did you balance your college work, employment and personal life while in college?


8.  What advice do you have for me to help me in my efforts to achieve my goal of college graduation?



The Structure for the Write-up of Your Research:

Your paper should be structured into six sections that will include a separate profile (story) about each of your interviewees, a section that will discuss an analysis of the similarities and differences between the college experiences of each interviewee, and then a concluding section that discusses what you learned from your research and how you intend to apply that knowledge to a plan for your own college success.


Writing up Each Profile:

You will write up four profiles, one for each of your interviewees. Write each profile as if you were writing up a magazine article to give readers a sense of the journey that the interviewee experienced going from day one at college to college graduation.  Begin each profile by giving some biographical information that would include the interviewee’s age range, college they attended, the degree he/she earned and his/her current job. I don’t need to know their specific age but just their age range, so you might say in something like “in her late 20’s” or “early 30’s” or “mid-20’s” or something like that.


If any of your interviewees wants you to keep their identity confidential that is fine. In that case, you should develop a fake name for that person so it is easier to write up their profile by referring to a name of someone instead of having to constantly say, the person I interviewed…..


Write each profile in the style of a story that you are telling the reader.  Do not mention each question that you ask.  Just explain in a story-like fashion what you learned about the interviewee by asking the different questions.  So, in other words, do not say, “When I asked her about the challenges she faced in earning her degree, she told me that she was constantly worried about working enough hours each week at her job so that she could keep up with her tuition bills.”  Instead, just say, “She was constantly worried about working enough hours each week at her job so that she could keep up with her tuition bills.”  So you are basically telling a story that flows easily that is not just giving a transcript of the questions that you asked followed by each specific answers that were given.


You do not have to write up each profile in the order of the questions that you asked.  Put the profile together in a way that makes an interesting story about the person you are profiling. 


Writing up the Comparison of the Interviewees:

Write at least one paragraph that discusses similarities and/or common themes that you heard from most of the interviewees regarding their college journeys.


Write at least one paragraph that discusses some of the differences you noted between the college journeys described by the four interviewees.



Writing up the Conclusion:

Write at least a paragraph that discusses what you learned from your research and how you intend to apply that knowledge to a plan for your own college success.


Format, Specifications and Submission Deadline for the Paper:

 The paper needs to be at least 900 words.  This is the equivalent of about 3 pages, typed and double-spaced with a 12 point font, with one-inch margins on all sides.

 Put Field Research on College Success at the top of page one and use this as a title for your title page.

 Put your name at the top of each page and the page number at the bottom or top of each page.  

 Label each section as designated below and fill in the content of each section based on the instructions above for each section.


Profile I

Profile II

Profile III

Profile IV

Comparison of the College Grads

Conclusion: Lessons Learned from the Research

 At the end of the paper, type in the word count. 





Grading Criteria:

A paper earning a grade in the 90 to 93 range out of 100 points will:


1)    Do a satisfactory job of writing up four profiles that effectively tells the story of the journey that each interviewee experienced going from day one at college to college graduation, based on the discussion questions specified above along with some of your own questions.  


2)    Do a satisfactory job of comparing the similarities and differences between the college journeys of the interviewees.


3)    Do a satisfactory job of writing up the conclusion of your paper that discusses what you learned from your research and how you intend to apply that knowledge to a plan for your own college success.


4)    Follow all of the above-mentioned paper format instructions including labeling each section as instructed and filling in the proper content that should be covered in each of the six sections of the paper.


5)    Be easy to read without a lot of significant writing problems. Be sure to avoid “run-on sentences” and “run-on paragraphs.”  You should organize your sentences within each profile or within each section into paragraphs based on sentences that logically should be grouped together to discuss specific sub-topics within that section.


6)    Be at least 900 words in length.


A grade of 94 plus will be reserved for papers that go above and beyond the assignment (such as interviewing and writing up a profile of a fifth college graduate, asking a lot of interesting additional questions beyond the questions provided, or going into more detail in each section of the paper such that you significantly exceed 900 words in your paper, etc.). 


Encouragement to use the Writing Tutors at the Center of Academic Success:  If you know that you have problems in your writing skills, I strongly encourage you to allow yourself enough time before the October 24th deadline to bring a draft of your paper to a tutor in the Center of Academic Success for help in revising your paper to correct writing problems. 



Note: Before submitting this paper please be sure to review each of the 6 points noted above as the Grading Criteria and make sure that you developed the paper as requested. 







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