Unfortunately, I only got 65 survey responses from the 220 students in the introductory psychology class. These students were the main focus of my research, and I was going to follow them over 3 years, measuring both what they know, do and feel about information literacy (IL). IL instruction is integrated throughout the semester for this class, and I was going to compare them with other students who get more traditional “one-shot” instruction in IL .
But now, since only 65 students participated in the survey, my results will be much weaker statistically. And not only that, there will be very few students left by the end of their three years who are willing to answer the last survey. This is incredibly discouraging, and I felt my motivation dwindle, like air escaping from a balloon. Will I get any meaningful results? Will my research have any impact in the field of IL? Will I be able to publish anything?
I’d put lots of effort into presenting the survey and encouraging the students to take it. I offered prizes (gift cards at Amazon) and waffles, but it wasn’t enough. (I guess they don’t like waffles as much as I do!) What a let-down! 🙁
When it was apparent that participation was low, I was prepared for having to change the course of my research totally, which would’ve meant several months of “wasted” time and effort. But in the meeting with my supervisors yesterday we decided to use the data we have. Perhaps my results won’t have as much power, but they’re sure to be informative and interesting anyway!
As we proceed, plans and goals will change constantly depending on the data we can collect, my supervisors say. So I’ll just go with the flow and continue trying both to collect as much data as possible and to keep my motivation up. That’s the way it is with research in the real world…