Aims of the focus groups

These are designed to find out how students from year 2 or 3 of university found the transition from college to university in comparison to students who joined the university in year 1. What we would like to find out: 

  • How well did you HNC/D prepare you for university study?
  • Do you think that the college and university could do more to help prepare you for studying a degree 
  • Could the university do more to help former HNC/D students while they study for a degree?
  • What the positive and negative experiences have been so far?

We intend to compare the experiences of the two groups of students to find out what the University could do to help new students succeed.   
 

Reporting the findings
We will write a report on the findings of the focus group, and in order to ensure accuracy the focus group will be audio-recorded. The recording will be used only for the purpose of writing the report and will not be shared with anyone not involved in writing the focus group report.
What will happen at the focus groups?
A focus group is a discussion in response to a series of questions, so the participants will be asked about their transition from school or college to university and their experiences of Heriot-Watt.  We want participants to be as open and honest as possible and we want every participant to have their say.  The feedback gathered from the focus group will be used to write a report.  The report will not identify any participant by name and any quotes we use will be anonymised.  
To help us in writing the report we intend to audio-record the focus groups – we will ask for your formal consent to do this.   All recorded material will be used solely for the purpose of creating a report and will not be shared with or circulated to anyone not involved in writing the focus group report.
Participation

Group 1 - To take part in the former HNC/D focus group you must have: 

  • Started your degree in September 2018
  • Completed an HNC/D at a college in Scotland before starting at Heriot-Watt
  • Joined Year 2 or Year 3 of your degree

If the above criteria apply to you then let us know the dates you are available during week 7 by completing our Google poll.

Group 2 - To take part in the year 1 focus group you must have:

  • Started your degree in September 2018 Joined Year 1 of your degree

If the above Group 2 criteria apply to you then let us know the dates you are available during week 7 by completing our Google poll

We will contact you nearer the time with more details. Please consider the Prompt Questions until then. 

When is the study and where will it take place?
Please ensure that you have completed the relevant Google poll for your group informing us of your availability. After the poll has closed the date, time and location of each group will be updated below. Participants will also be contacted via their Heriot-Watt email address informing them of the final date, time and location.
  • Group 1 (Year 2 or 3): [Date, Time, and Location to be confirmed]
  • Group 2 (Year 1): [Date, Time, and Location to be confirmed]
Prompt questions
In preparation for the study it would be beneficial if you started considering the following:
  • How did you feel when you started at Heriot-Watt University?
  • What were the activities (inductions, social engagement events hosted by the university) you took part in when you started at university and how did they benefit your experience?
  • Do you think HWU is a good place to come to? Would you recommend it to others? Why?
  • Think about any unexpected problems or setbacks that you have experienced since joining university. How did you deal with them? Could your high school or college, or the University have prepared you for these unexpected challenges?
Confidentiality
Any report on the focus group will not identify any participant by name. We will report on comments made and where appropriate use direct quotations but these will be anonymous and not attributed to any named individual.
Names and HWU ID numbers will however be retained by Heriot-Watt for the purposes of recording who participated in the focus group should future focus groups arise (so we don’t ask the same questions to the same people again by mistake).
Follow up
We would also like to have the option of contacting you at a later date if significant and more detailed information about your experiences would be of interest to our work.
Please note that you are under no obligation to provide any additional information should we request this from you, and participation in the focus group does not imply consent to answer further enquiries from us, or any obligation that you will participate in any future evaluation exercises (whether focus group, interview or questionnaire based).   
Consent to participation
We need to have a record of your agreement to participate in the focus group and confirmation that you understand the arrangements, so please complete the consent form and either send an electronic copy to studentsuccess@hw.ac.uk, or bring along to the focus group on the day. 
You have the option of withdrawing your consent to participate in the focus group at any time.

More information

If you have any immediate questions please contact: studentsuccess@hw.ac.uk