I’m currently writing a series of posts at Career Options Magazine’s blogspot using the metaphor of academic research to describe the career exploration and job search process. So far, it’s been a lot of fun (and a great way to think about my own research a little bit differently)!
Here are some excerpts:
Part 1: Operational Definitions
In explaining many job search ideas and practices to students, I find myself attempting to change the operational definitions of many concepts that they seem to take for granted. Being stuck in a certain mindset or pattern of thinking can be a very frustrating experience, but often times it just means that you’re looking at a situation through the wrong lens. Try thinking of your situation as if you were a researcher struggling to come up with a satisfactory research design. This can make all the difference in the world to revisit how you’re defining whatever it is you’re measuring (the “dependent variable” in this case being whether or not you get a job).
The important thing is that the nature of the question—exactly what is being asked, and how it’s being asked—fundamentally affects whatever answers you might uncover. As we’re about to find out, the same is true in the realm of career exploration. For example, let’s say you wanted to do research on student stress around midterm season. You could formulate a question like, “Whatare the contributing factors to student stress during midterms at Canadian post-secondary institutions?” Or, you could ask something like, “To what extent does stress affect performance on midterms among Canadian post-secondary students?” Finally, you could also ask something like,“How do university students experience stress during exam periods?”
Head over to Career Options to read the full posts. I’m not sure how many parts this series will include, but stay tuned for more updates!