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Dr Linda Allin Division of Sport Sciences The value of real life evaluation research for student learning and employability in Sports Development.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Linda Allin Division of Sport Sciences The value of real life evaluation research for student learning and employability in Sports Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Linda Allin Division of Sport Sciences The value of real life evaluation research for student learning and employability in Sports Development

2 Background Research methods module does not specifically cover evaluation research, yet this was thought by staff to be a key form of research utilised within the sports development field. Community Sports Development module had potential for engaging students with real life evaluation research and enhancing learning, but links and opportunities not established. Understanding employer perspectives of research and engaging employers to enable students to undertake small scale evaluations in Community Sports Development had potential to enhance relevance and employability

3 Project objectives Work with key employers in the region, to identify specific evaluation research projects that could be undertaken by sports development undergraduates in conjunction with the organisation each year To research employer views on research, the value of research to their field and the research skills needed by graduates To develop guidelines for students in relation to working with organisations and build a database of case studies that can be used to inform subsequent modules To develop potential research opportunities for sports development staff

4 The Process Prior to module delivery, contacted key employers to identify programmes and contacts During the module, students asked to contact those identified and negotiate evaluation - Included interviews or combination of interview/questionnaire. Wrote up as group evaluation research project, with recommendations Module tutor drafted brief guidelines for working with organisations Interviewed six employers as to their views of research in sports development (range Assistant Director to Sports Development Officer) Fed back initial findings from employers to students

5 Was it successful? Survey of reviews from students in relation to the benefits of their involvement in real life evaluation research with employers Focus group with students to gain deeper understanding Phone calls to employers Longer term impact may be judged in relation to understanding across level 5 and 6, as well as student/staff engagement with employers and sports development applied research

6 Impact on Student Learning? When youve actually got to go out and do it, it gives you a better understanding of what youre doing because you know the ins and outs of it. And you know exactly what youve asked, the process that has been there to answer it and the results that youve got from it, instead of just being given a piece of paper in black and white saying We did this, this and this and this is what happened. - Deeper engagement and understanding

7 Impact on Student Learning? Were going out and doing this and we might be going out looking for one result and there might be something completely different happen and weve got to change our whole focus, because it is real and you cant predict whats going to happen. Youve got to change everything to go with what youre given or what you get from your interviews. - problem solving and dealing with uncertainty Just how important the issues are relating to research and CSD. Not everything that is said actually gets done and there are a lot of tensions and contradictions that arise - theory to reality

8 Employer Views of Research The nature and value of research in sports development Evaluation and monitoring of projects –For organisational benefit –For funders –Increasing demand –Quantitative/qualitative The challenges in undertaking research in the sports development industry

9 Employer views of research skills Knowing what you want to achieve Good planning Investigative skills Communication, the ability to talk to different people, adjust to different audiences, informed communication skills To know what the theories are and justify what you found Organisation, logical thinking Knowledge of various methodologies and deciding which one to use Knowledge of ethics Time management Good skills on analysis and being able to interpret and present results – you may be sending it on to somebody Commitment to doing it properly Knowledge of techniques and tools

10 Additional Benefits Students obtaining placements and longer term opportunities based with employers with whom they undertook projects Employer contacted staff to discuss research/consultancy evaluation of a sports development health initiative Adapted book of case studies of example projects developed

11 Concluding questions and thoughts What are some of the issues and suggestions for engaging students with employers in the curriculum? –Short term contracts means that programmes continually changing –Time and structural constraints, staff intensive –Ethical Approval –Use of key alumni –Keeping employers informed and engaged in a variety of ways (visiting lecturer, consultation on ideas, placements, wbl) – building solid two-way relationships –Brochure of partner opportunities –Flexibility

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