Survey Research

Auburn University Department of Geosciences

Student and prospective students' predetermined opinions toward geosciences

In my Survey Research Methods class, we learned about surveys, focus groups and other research methods to understand public opinions, in order to help brands determine their stance with their key publics. We were taught how to analyze quantitative and qualitative data derived from our research to create a public relations proposal to change or enhance a client's image among its publics.

My group's client was Auburn University's Department of Geology and Geography. We were assigned the task of figuring out why there was a decline in geology and geography majors, for both undergraduate and graduate studies. We used Qualtrics survey software to survey students on campus and assess their opinions and attitudes about geology and geography as majors and careers. After analyzing our data, we created a public relations proposal geared toward educating students and prospective Auburn students about the geology and geography fields and the amount of options students have for careers. We recommended the department become more visible via social media and on campus.
Note: As of 2015, the Department of Geology and Geography has changed its name to the Department of Geosciences. Our research we conducted was in 2014, thus the reason the old department name is used in our proposal.

Please click on the image below to read our complete proposal online via Calameo.

Problem

There was a significant lack of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate geology and geography fields at Auburn University.

Findings

We surveyed Auburn students to figure out the reasons behind the lack of interest in geology and geography. Using our findings, we came to the conclusion that high school students did not have a proper understanding about these fields prior to college enrolment. In regard to current college students, they did not perceive these fields as being interesting enough, not enough career opportunities and were uncertain about the amount of money made in the fields to continue on to a graduate level.

Solution

We created a public relations report, which we presented to the head of the Department of Geosciences. The report suggested various ways to educate upcoming and current students about geology and geography, ways for the department to have a larger presence on campus and how to create more interest within the student body, among other suggestions.