MOVING ON TO DATA COLLECTION
Access to admissions records was agreed by the university authorities and all seemed to be well. Helen's first task was to obtain information on students' entry qualifications from university records but in order to ensure that the data collecting would run smoothly she decided to carry out a mini pilot study to include the examination of all the entry qualifications of students as recorded in the university files. The records were made available, and the staff concerned were helpful, but in some cases the records were found to be incomplete or even missing. The fact that the records were unreliable meant that the only way to obtain accurate information about entry qualifications was by asking the students direct. That meant that a far more detailed questionnaire would be required than was originally intended which would involve significantly more work in recording, summarizing and analysing responses. With her supervisor's approval, the original plan to produce a fairly short questionnaire followed by interviews was abandoned and the effectiveness of the survey then depended solely on the quality of the new questionnaire and the comparison of entry qualifications and final degree results.