For the entirety of my final semester in graduate school, I have been involved in an independent study where I am using quantitative research methodology to investigate the impact that required LLC courses have on students sense of belonging. Through this experience, I have learned the importance of using quantitative research methodology in my practice as a student affairs educator.
Specifically, I learned the importance of using data to drive decision making. Being able to understand the impact educational strategies have on students learning is essential in making decisions. In an era of ever increasing accountability, being able to reference the data and show that an educational initiative had a statistically significant impact on student learning is incredibly powerful.
Additionally, quantitative research methodology ensures that student affairs educators to understand how impactful their practices are on students. For example, this semester I learned that required LLC courses have no impact on students sense of belonging. Thus, the Office of Residence Life should evaluate as to what the purpose of required courses are. If the courses are to foster belonging, then continuing to devote resources to supporting required LLC courses would not be good use of resources.
Finally, quantitative research methodology is important to advancing knowledge of the profession. With George S. Blimling’s (2015) book Student Learning in College Residence Halls: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why as the essential text on high impact practices in residence life, it is important for student affairs educators to assess the impact those strategies have on student learning. It will be vital for residence life educators to ensure the practices that Blimling (2015) talks about are working for the students we work with.
Utilizing quantitative research methodology is not easy. It is time consuming and labor intensive to conduct quality quantitative inquiry. Yet, the results that come from conducting quantitative inquiry are incredibly valuable and heighten the educational impact.
Blimling, G.S. (2015) Student learning in college residence halls: What works, what doesn’t, and
why. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.