Over this semester we have made a lot of progress on our research. We started by finalizing the literature review and methodology portions of our paper and right now we are at the stage of gathering all the data. Right after getting the research approved by IRB two weeks ago I started interviewing students on the Pleasantville campus. It has been a great experience full of learning. Since this is the first time I conduct interviews at the beginning knowing how to remain neutral throughout the interview was a big challenge. However, by sticking to the questions that we have drafted and some practice, I have been able to learn some strategies to make sure the question I am asking are as neutral as possible.
Over the last few weeks, I have learned more than I thought. A very valuable lesson has been understanding how to get people to discuss topics that are usually avoided in social settings. Since our research is focused on identifying behaviors and perceptions towards community service and civic engagement, the role of politics and government plays is significant and usually avoided by people. For my surprise, all the students that I have interviewed have reacted in a very positive way and have been willing to share all their opinions very openly despite how strong they are.
This semester has been purely focused on looking for existing research on the topic that I will be researching on the Pace community. Since Generation Z just started to get to college, this is a very new topic, and there is not a lot of existing research on it. Therefore, it was challenging to develop a well-structured literature review to have a base to conduct the actual research next semester. However, with the help of my advisor I was able to find resources and develop a very useful framework for the research that we will be conduction next semester.
So far, we already developed some interview questions that we will be using on our research and a paper stipulating the proposed methodology and literature review. While developing this content, I have been able to identify some trends in the main differences highlighted by researchers between Generation Z and Millennials. It was interesting to learn that Millennials approach to community service seems to be very centered in volunteering activates, while Generation’s Z appears to be in different areas at they appear to have an intrinsic interest in creating progress. However, one of the most valuable lessons that this research has thought me is that there is not an absolute answer and as a student, reader, or research is my responsibility to read about many different perspectives and try to take the least biased approach based on all the different resources available.
I relate this not only with specific findings of generations but also with the fact that generational theory as the base of a study is also questioned by some authors. It has been very interesting and fulfilling to be forced to understand different sides of the argument and came up with what the most valuable approach can be.