Researching Opinion: Challenges

Lack of Contact

The most likely challenge you’ll face in doing research is difficulty in finding an audience willing to provide feedback. You might find your target audience hard to reach and may not respond to emails, but in that instance, please do persevere and try different ways of reaching out.

Because students in particular may not be inclined to respond to emails, we would really encourage you to consider alternate ways of getting in touch, such as social media or if relevant, your MySurrey Voice boards.

We also encourage you to develop the relationship with other relevant groups, such as societies or clubs with a shared interest in your research. Reach out and see if they’re able to help you contact their membership to gather more feedback.

Apathy

If the challenge that you’re facing is that students don’t seem to they have any feedback, or that participating in your research is pointless and won’t make a difference, the key is to keep reporting back on the purposes of your research and what you intend to achieve with it.

For example, as a Course Rep, you might make it clear to students that feedback raised in the past has led to changes within the department, and that this is the purpose of you conducting your current research. This will hopefully mean that students are more likely to share their feedback with you if they know it’s making a difference.

Having discussions with people about the value of their opinions is also important. By doing this, you may encourage more individuals to share feedback with you, and help them to feel valued for doing so.

Issues outside your remit

If students bring you issues that fall outside your role as a Course Representative, then you’ll need to signpost them. Information about where to signpost students to can be found in the Course Rep handbook, but if you’re not sure where to signpost students towards, you can always email hannah.jones@surrey.ac.uk for advice

Remember, you’re not expected to solve personal issues!