The authors are investigating whether there is a relationship between college student and ethnic identities and self-esteem, efficacy and Grade Point Average in an Urban University.
1. There will be noticeable racial-ethnic differences in the sample. Also Asians will have the most positive college identities, followed by blacks and then by whites, especially on the dimensions of academics, confidence and meaningfulness (p. 3)
2. College student identity scores will be highest in immigrants, and lowest in the third generation students (p. 4).
3. Black students will have the most positive ethnic identities followed by Asians, and then by whites (p. 4).
4. In terms of ethnic identities, immigrants will be score highest and third generation lowest (p. 4).
5. For self-esteem and efficacy blacks will be highest, followed by Asians and whites (p.5).
6. Asians will have the highest GPA, followed by whites and then by blacks (p. 5).
7. Self-Esteem and efficacy will be the highest in immigrants, then second-generation and lowest in third-generation (p. 5).
8. GPA will be highest among immigrants, and there will be no difference between second generation and third generation students (p. 6).
9. Positive college student and ethnic identities are associated with high self-esteem, efficacy and GPA (p. 6).
The method used for this investigation was to survey a sample of college students from the university (p. 6).
There are many advantages to this method. Surveys are inexpensive and useful as it is possible to cover a large number of people, and therefore gather more data than with some other methods. 655 students were surveyed, which is a large number. This will have increased the validity of the study as more individuals were researched.
However, the ratio of white, black and Asian students surveyed was not equal. Forty per cent were white, forty per cent were black, but only seven per cent were Asian (p. 7). This could make the results unreliable as far less Asian students were involved.
Another advantage to the survey method, with relation to this investigation, is that the answers given are highly reliable. By presenting all participants with the same stimulus the researchers have reduced observer subjectivity. However, this method will result in the researcher developing questions that are general enough to be suitable for all participants. It is possible that what is most appropriate to many respondents is therefore missed. Furthermore, survey research can fail to deal with context.
Concepts such as self-esteem and efficacy were measured using methodologies used in past studies (p. 7). Through these ideas, the student responses were converted into figures, and then entered as statistics into a chart. This can be problematic. Despite the previous investigation’s method of conversion being deemed a success, at the time, it may not have been a fair and reliable way to do it in the first place. There can also be problems with converting human responses into figures, especially with subjects as diverse as racial identity and self-esteem. Human feelings and opinions are highly contextual and variable. Displaying and interpreting them as figures is, arguably, always going to be inaccurate.
Additionally, concepts which rely heavily on internal human feelings such as self-esteem can vary for a participant from day to day and even hour to hour. A participant who felt very confident on the day of the study may not feel confident the following week. Also, even though the survey method eliminates observer objectivity factors, a participant may still answer questions based on what he or she would like to feel, rather than what they truthfully feel.
Despite the usefulness of the survey method in gaining access to a large number of people, the method is inappropriate for the nature of this investigation. The questions posed are highly personal and contain so many variables that taking more time and interviewing participants individually may have evoked more convincing results.