research proposal – is university still necessary?

We are living in an age of digital communication and limitless knowledge.  As a communications and media student majoring in digital media and marketing, most of my content revolves around the ever-changing well of information that is the internet; in fact, we don’t require textbooks for our studies because the content changes so often.  If something intrigues me about technology (for example, learning how to use a piece of software or setting up a blog), I can easily find the resources I need to do this myself, at home.  The cost of attending university also astounds me, especially when so much content is available online.  So why do students studying communications and media still believe it is necessary to attend university?  In short – why are we here, rather than teaching ourselves at home?  Is university still necessary?

To answer this question, I plan to ask other communications and media students like myself questions regarding this topic in the form of a survey.  I will ask questions regarding their university lifestyles, i.e. what majors they have chosen, do they engage with uni outside of their classes, their satisfaction with the lifestyle and cost of university, etc.  I will also ask them about their use of online learning, i.e. do they choose to watch lectures online or attend them in person, do they ever engage in self-teaching through YouTube or articles, etc.

To help myself to answer my research question in more depth, I will gather a focus group of a variety of communications and media students across all majors and ask them for their opinions, with more open-ended questions such as “why did you choose to come to university?” “what do you believe you will get out of this degree?” “in your opinion, what are the benefits and drawbacks of choosing to teach yourself over university learning, and vice versa?”.  I will also use secondary research in the form of articles, as I would like to examine whether industry experts believe universities are falling in popularity and whether they are concerned by the increase in online resources for learning.

I have my own hypotheses regarding the results of this research, and I’m sure other people will disagree with them!  My personal prediction is that students will answer differently depending on their majors, with digital media students preferring self-teaching the most, and journalism the least.  Throughout the course of this projects I hope to answer my research question, and either prove or disprove my theories.

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