Involving secondary pupils in research

As described in an earlier post (https://variss.org/2014/12/18/pupil-survey/), we visited St Crispin’s School in Wokingham in November and December 2014. Pupils in Year 8 designed, administered and analysed a questionnaire about pupils’ views on the importance of reading. The pupils worked really hard and came up with lots of brilliant ideas and one of them wrote this summary of the experience, which was published in the school newsletter earlier this year.

Before Christmas there was a survey conducted by a small group of pupils with the help of some researchers from Royal Holloway University of London. We aimed to find what people think about reading and what their purpose for reading was. The research was also meant to let pupils see how research is done. We started by doing two surveys about reading ourselves. We came up with lots of ideas and decided the top 10 best questions for the survey. We wanted it to be successful so we thought of tweaking the questions (turn the positive questions into negative questions) to see that people read the questions properly. The questions would be answered as Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither, Disagree and Strongly Disagree. We made a survey on Survey Monkey and sent emails to students to fill it up.

We met two weeks after the first meeting and analysed and discussed all the data. We got a total of 42 surveys filled in and we saw the survey was successful; there were some questions in which the results were balanced (people gave lots of different opinions and they were spread out and not focused on one opinion) and in some places it was higher on one side than the other (more people agreed or strongly agreed than the number of people who disagreed or strongly disagreed and vice versa). We discussed the causes for these results and came up with many great explanations.

We then discussed what we could do better if we were to do it again. We had a great time in these meetings and we got to see how a survey is done. We learnt a lot about people’s opinions on reading and possible reasons for their views. We as a group will be doing a seminar in parliament for our survey.

Atharva Patil (8RAI)

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