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Effect of Emphasising Graduate Attributes on WorkPlacement Reflection Participatory Action Research with Thematic Analysis

Author Julie Dunne
Abstract This paper describes the results from the analysis of the effect of activities to promote awareness of graduate attributes development on the quality of reflection displayed in student pharmacy technicians' work-placement reflective blogs compared to previous years. The theoretical framework for the research leading to the Participatory Action Research methodology involving the students as co-researchers will be explained. The early cycles of action and research involved student knowledge development about graduate attributes, and prioritisation of graduate attributes based on stakeholder input. This paper will focus on the thematic analysis of reflective writing asssited by NVivo software from a control group in 2013/14 and the participatory action research group in 2014/15. The findings show that there was an increase in the reflection on graduate attributes in the research group compared to the control group. More importantly, the findings show clear evidence of an increase in the variety of graduate attributes being discussed by the research group, with the prioritised attributes featuring more frequently in the research group reflective writings. Additionally the findings show that the references were much more likely to explicitly identify the skill by name in the research group. This shows that a better appreciation of graduate attributes helps students to frame their work-placement experiences and consequently deepen their reflection and advance their employability through improved articulation of their transferable skills.
Keywords Reflection, Graduate attributes, Participatory Action Research, Work-placement
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2015
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