Dave: Well, l suppose it was because sending students off to various companies for work experience seems to be such a typical part of educational courses these days – I mean, even school kids get to do it. But Q21 I felt everyone just kind of assumes it’s a good thing and l guess I wanted to find out if that’s the case.
Dr. Green: But you don’t look at schools or colleges, right? Q22 You’ve stuck to university placement schemes.
Dave: Yeah, well, I quickly found that I had to limit my research, otherwise the area was just too big. Do you think that was OK?
Dr. Green: I think it’s very sensible, especially as the objectives might be very different. So how many schemes did you look at?
Dave: Well, I sent out about 150 questionnaires altogether – you know, 50 of each to university authorities, students, and companies, and Q23 I got responses from 15 educational institutions, and.. er, 30 students in 11 individual companies.
Dr. Green: Great, that sounds like a good sample. And who did you send your company questionnaires to?
Dave: Well, Q24 the idea was to have them done by the students’ Line Managers, but sometimes they were filled in by the Human Resources manager or even the owner of the company.
Dr. Green: Right. I didn’t find a full list anywhere, so Q25 I think it’s very important to provide that, really. You can put it as an appendix at the back .
Dave: Right. Q25 I’ve got a record of all the respondents so that’ll be easy. I hope other things were OK. I mean I’ve already put such a lot of work into this project, identifying the companies and so on.
Dr. Green: Oh, I can tell I think you’ve done a good job overall.
Dr. Green: I thought your questionnaires were excellent, and you’d obviously done lots of background reading, but there were a few problems with the introduction. First of all, Q26 I think you need to make some slight changes to the organisation of your information there, at present, it’s a bit confused.
Dave: OK. What did you have in mind?
Dr. Green: Well, you write quite a bit about Work Placement in general, Q27 but you never explain what you mean by the term.
Dave: Q27 So you think I should give a definition?
Dr. Green: Q27 Exactly. And the introduction is the place to do it. And then look, you start talking about what’s been written on the topic – but it’s all a bit mixed up with your own project.
Dave: So do you think it would be better to have two sections there like, a survey of the literature as the introduction and then Q28 a separate section on the aims of my research?
Dr. Green: Q28 I do. You can include your methods for collecting data in the second section too. It would be much dearer for your reader… you know, establish the background first, then how your work relates to it, it would flow quite nicely then.
Dave: Yes, I see what you mean
Dr. Green: Anyway, moving on I like the way you’ve grouped your findings into three main topic areas
Dave: Well, it became very obvious from the questionnaires that the preparation stage was really important for the whole scheme to work. So I had to look at that first. And I found a huge variation between the different institutions, as you saw.
Dr. Green: I was wondering if you could give a summary at the end of this stage of what you consider to be the best practice you found, I think that would be very helpful…
Dave: Right, I’ll just make a note of that. Q29 What did you think of my second set of findings – on Key Skills development? For me, this is the core of my whole project really…
Dr. Green: Q29 And you’ve handled it very well. I wouldn’t want you to make any changes – you’ve already got a nice final focus on good practice there.
Dr. Green: Right, now I think the last part, which deals with the reasons why students don’t learn…
Dave: What? Q30 The constraints on learning chapter?
Dr. Green: Yes. that’s the one I think Q30 you need to refer to the evidence from your research a bit more closely here. You know, maybe you could illustrate it with quotations from the questionnaires, or even use any extracts from a student ‘diary’ if you can. And refer back to what you’ve written about good practice…