Class This Fall

December 12, 2009

This semester I’m only taking one class. It’s called Qualitative Research Methods. For those who are not familiar with research design, Wikipedia says,

Qualitative research is a method of inquiry appropriated in many different academic disciplines, traditionally in the social sciences, but also in market research and further contexts. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed, rather than large samples.

Wow, I’m not even sure I would have been able to understand that definition if I wasn’t in the class. In other words, I learned how to conduct a study doing interviews and gathering other kinds of data like journals. For this course I interviewed three millennials about their job satisfaction and had them keep a journal for a week where they wrote about their thoughts on job satisfaction. I just finished my last class yesterday and I am so glad to have my paper done. Here’s a small excerpt from the paper I turned in yesterday.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how job satisfaction was described by millennials working in entry-level professional positions. By examining how millennial’s describe job satisfaction, using qualitative approaches, we can better understand how this new generation of employees is adjusting to the workforce. With this information, researchers can add vital information to the already extensive research on job satisfaction, human resource professionals and managers can recruit and retain qualified millennials, and millennials themselves can better understand themselves as a generational group within the organizational structure. At this stage in the research, job satisfaction is defined as the degree to which an individual feels positively or negatively about the internal or external characteristics of her/his job (Hunt, Chonko, & Wood, 1985). The central question that guided my inquiry was: What is the meaning of job satisfaction to millennials? The study also helped answer the following three sub-questions: What experiences contribute to the job satisfaction of millennials? What experiences contribute to the job dissatisfaction of millennials? What do millennials believe are some strategies employers could take to increase their job satisfaction?

I plan on taking two classes this next semester. I got lucky enough to find two classes I really wanted to take that were being offered on the same day. So, this spring I’ll be commuting to Lincoln every Wednesday for class from 3-9pm. That means a very long day of working and taking a class. I’ll only have to drive one day though. Overall, my class work is going great and I’m proud to say that I should be done with my course work by August 2011. Then I’ll be working on my dissertation for a year and hopefully be graduating by December 2012.

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