What they don’t tell you: Third Party Focus Groups

What they Don’t tell you: Third Party Focus Groups.

Saunders, Andrew
International Student Research and Liaison Coordinator OSHC Worldcare
Brisbane, Australia asaunders@worldcare.com.au

The difficulty of an institutional survey of a student population is that previously observed negativity concerning the relationship of establishment and subject – power differential, mistrust, guilt –taint the results of surveys that are undertaken by an identified university official or an individual that is known to be in the employ of the university, such as residential assistants, tutors and students under departmental employ.

Since 2005 OSHC Worldcare has undertaken a series of student/customer surveys concerning the OSHC product, experiences of Australia and additional questioning about their studies. These surveys were conducted in such a manner as to be anonymous and thus gather as much unbiased information as possible. A more recent use of the focus groups has been to use the focus group to ask questions supplied by the university so as to gather unbiased, or at least, least biased information.

The students are free to ask questions in the focus group forum, and so the information gathered from the students is not just reaction but also proactive.

This presentation will explore, within the bounds of customer/client confidentiality, the results from our focus group participant’s answers and comments and the indicators they provide for international student recruitment and retention based on community communication both in Australia and their country of origin.

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