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International Students

Introduction

With half of full-time students who responded to a Carney, McNeish and McColl (2005) study were in part-time employment during term time and an “increasing financial burden being imposed on students” according to Hall (2010), the aim of this group report is to compare trends in employment between students geographically. Categorising students as Scottish, rest of the UK, European or International students and the trends within each, if any and if there is any similarities between these categories of students in terms of their part-time employment and the effects it has on their academic studies.

According to a variety of studies it is clear that for a growing amount of students that part-time employment is a necessity to make ends meet each month. With David Robotham (2012) suggesting the continual decline in state funding for students in higher education has had a major impact among British students. Mixed with the consistent growth in living expenses this has caused more and more students to undertake part-time work while studying full-time. The figure has now risen to 77% of students work part-time according to Warrell (2015).

However other sources convey the idea that having a part-time job helps build better time-management skills and other transferable skills benefitting the student for their future life in full-time employment. Carl Evans (2014) suggests that this balance of work and study can benefit a student if they can manage their time. He argues that the pressure of balancing the two motivates a student to keep to a schedule better as they have less time to put a task off i.e they have to take advantage of time outside of work and scheduled classes to revise and complete courseworks. In response to these positive impacts of balancing part-time employment with full-time education Claire Carney (2006) points out how the pressure and extra stress of balancing the two causes severe mental and physical implications to a student. Thus, having harmful consequences on both studies and work. Throughout this report the aim is to show how students at Edinburgh Napier University if they work how it affects their studies, positively or negatively.

Methods

The group asked undergraduate students who are either in a part-time job or unemployed while studying full-time as participants of our case study. The participants that took part were both male and female and came from different ethnic backgrounds.

Collectively, the decision was made on what type of sampling was going to be used and would work best for the report. Convenience sampling was chosen as it enables them to achieve the sample size wanted in a relatively fast and inexpensive way.

Firstly, the group conducted some secondary research about what the causes and the effects of having a part-time job while studying an undergraduate degree could be. Using the information found a questionnaire was then formulated that would investigate our chosen scenario as deeply as possible.

Accordingly, a pilot test was carried out on four students with a 100% response rate and, using the feedback given, the questionnaire was modified and improved. A major change made was reducing the number of open questions from three to one due to a negative response in the pilot. Furthermore, it was agreed that open answers cannot be easily processed or analysed due to the nonspecific nature of the responses.

Following, we distributed the corrected survey to twenty individuals and collected the results with a 100% response rate. Finally, the data was reviewed and evaluated. Conclusions and recommendations were then made from the reviewed findings.

Results

55% of respondents had part-time jobs with a 5% trimmed mean of 12.03 hours worked per week. 30.77% respondents who did not have a part-time job claimed they were looking for one.

The questionnaire asked respondents what they believe their stress levels are on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being extremely calm and 10 being extremely stressed. The group discovered that those who did have a part-time job rated their stress levels with a 5% trimmed mean of 4.3 out of 10. Those who did not have a part time job rated their stress levels with a 5% trimmed mean of 4.37 out of 10. This is a very small difference in stress rating which suggests that having a part time job while at University in Scotland has very little effect on stress levels.

The questionnaire also asked respondents who had a part-time job if they believed their job negatively affected their academic studies using a 5 point Likert scale rating from 1 being strongly disagree to 5 being strongly agree. The group unveiled that respondents tended to agree with the statement with a 5% trimmed mean score of 3.6. No respondents scored less than 3 (neutral) to the statement. This indicates that respondents are either on the fence or agree that having a part-time job negatively affects their academic studies.

The group asked if respondents who didn’t have a part-time job what their main reasons for not having one were. The group revealed that the top two reasons for respondents not to engage in employment was that they already receive enough income from parental contributions and secondly, they believe it will affect their academic studies. This shows that even those who are not in a part-time job believe it will add undue stress upon themselves and their coursework.

Conclusion

Our results provide evidence that students at Edinburgh Napier University feel that having a part time job will not negatively affect their academic studies. We feel that our questionnaire was effective in investigating the academic effects of having a part-time job among students studying a full-time degree. Our results told us that respondents who are currently in part time employment feel neutral or agree to the statement that their part-time job will negatively affect their academic studies.

It was found that there was very little difference in stress rating between students who did have a part-time job, and students who didn’t have a part time job, the results suggesting that both parties feel little stress while studying at University in Scotland. This contradicts the theory of Claire Carney (2006) who points out how the pressure and extra stress of balancing the two causes severe mental and physical implications to a student.

However, through further investigation our results told us that students who are not currently in a part-time job believe it will add undue stress upon their coursework. Furthermore, our results concluded that only 30.77% of respondents who did not have a part time job were looking for one. These may suggest that there is a negative stereotype surrounding undergoing part-time employment whilst studying at University in Scotland.