This past week I was to interact with students, interview them on their thoughts regarding the Vestibular (the standardized university admissions test), to learn more about what the current situation is,and how it affects them as students. After chatting with several students and talking about the vestibular, I came to the following conclusions:
- Students were generally concerned with speaking their minds while being videotaped. I found that answers varied greatly while students spoke on and off the record.
- I found that it is better to ask about the Vestibular in a general manner, as specific questions regarding the university admissions test could potentially bias the students' answers.
- I found that interviews conducted in groups have pros and cons: students spoke more freely when in groups, often citing ethnic concerns (which is a rarity). The con in this situation is that anyone who is not actively participating in the conversation would not be willing to voice a dissenting view (at least in the experiences I have encountered so far).
I have recorded my findings after a week of interviews. Over 70 students were approached, over 50 cooperated; 30 students provided acceptable data for my research (where "acceptable data" is data that is least likely to be biased).Here I am, with my handy-dandy notebook, full of scribbles and notations. Typically, I would have my netbook with me, but since it is my absolute main method of communication and data-bank for all my research, it is too precious to be carrying around with me at all times. Since I do not mind writing, I jot-down all that I do, then compile the information once I am back in my apart-hotel. The next part of my research will include LOTS of reading, cross-referencing data, and just plain old research. On a side note: I have come to appreciate Brazilian news, as it plays an essential role in my research. Every so often there are reports regarding racial problems in Brazil, the concept of University quotas based on ethnic background, and what is being done about it. Nothing substantial has been reported, but it makes me happy to be here, working towards a solution. This weekend I plan on visiting a couple of museums!