Should university fees go higher or lower?
Some say that putting students into debt is not the way to fund a higher education system.
Meanwhile universities have been privately warning against lowering fees unless there is a clear plan for replacing the lost income.
The UK is not consistent on university fees. England has the highest level of fees in Europe and Scotland is at the other extreme with none (at least for Scottish students). Wales and Northern Ireland are somewhere in between.
Should universities be allowed to charge what they want? Or could fees be capped at a fee such as £7,500, with the deficit made up by the Government? Should Arts and Humanities degrees cost less than a degree in Medicine, which has far more contact hours and require much more expensive equipment?
For this assessment you are required to prepare a short research essayof 2,500 words in total, excluding references, on the following topic:
“Should UK university fees be lowered or are they fairly calculated? Should some degrees cost more than others? An investigation of students’ opinions on UK university fees.”
Devise and carry out semi-structured interviews with a small sample of 5 fellow students where you are currently studying this year (i.e. in the UK or abroad). The students must come from different countries to reflect prior international educational experiences.
You’ll obviously have to refer to the material for this unit, your two core texts and other references on the topic to help you to devise and analyse your semi-structured interviews in both research and theoretical terms.
Look particularly at Bell 2010 chapter 9: ‘Planning and conducting interviews’, pages 160-176.
Think carefully about the data you need and do not need, and address the ethical research issues, e.g. anonymisation of respondents. See Bell 2010 chapter 3 ‘Ethics and integrity in research’ pages 44-62. You must complete an ethics release form and attach it to your assignment.
Is there a set instruction you can use? Are there any things you need to think about when carrying out a semi-structured interview with people whose first language may not be English?
Limit the time of each interview to about 10 minutes per participant. Think how you will store your data – notes / recording? Analyse your results, then:
Write up your key findings and critically discuss them in an essay of 2,500 words, including any recommendations as appropriate. Comment on how representative and valid your sample is in this context. Include examples from participants in your essay, but make sure these are short and to the point. In your conclusion, include a short reflection about what you have learned from carrying out these small-scale international semi-structured interviews.
Include key information in an appendix. Full transcriptions are not required.
Make sure you write in formal academic style and remember that just describing what you did and your findings is not analysis!
The completed assessment will take the following simple essay form (you can use headings in your essay):
Title Page: State the unit code, the title of the unit, the full title of your assessment, and your student identifier.
Introduction: (200 words) – briefly introduce the topic; include the parameters of the assessment, what you will include and why, what you will not include, and why not.
Development: (2,000 words) – develop your assessment, with the most important points first, least important last. Use headings and paragraphing to show new topics / ideas etc.
Conclusion: (300 words) – summarise the content of your assessment; do not introduce new points / ideas at this stage.
References: – (not included in your word count) this must include all references in your assessment which are to come from a range of sources. At this level around 15 different sources are expected. Referencing throughout your assessment and in this section must use the Harvard system correctly. See Referencing the Harvard Way:
Appendices (not included in your word count).
For the assessment, it is important to plan your work carefully in sections, putting the points in order of importance (important points first). Your assessment should be clear and logical to the reader, and should flow from paragraph to paragraph. Make sure you analyse the topic, rather than being just descriptive. Check that you link the sections of your assessment together carefully. Set your work out exactly as required, and ensure you check your work for spelling and grammar. You must reference as required using the Harvard system. Before submitting your work, make sure you proof read it critically to remove any errors you might have missed earlier.
The approach required is a piece of academic work examining international research issues, relating them to appropriate research and theories, and proposing reasoned solutions or conclusions.
Any assertions you make must be backed up with relevant, correctly referenced examples throughout.
Do not merely give your own unsubstantiated opinions, or simply copy out sections from secondary sources, whether cited or uncited, as this is academic misconduct, and you will be heavily penalised if you do this.
Your assessment is to be word-processed using Word, and the style required is as follows: 1.5 spacing, Trebuchet MS 12 point, fully justified text, page numbering centre bottom, 3cm space on all sides. Use bold and 14 point for headings. Double return for new paragraphs, do not indent. Use the Harvard referencing system.
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