Research is unexpected. But it is surprising and fulfilling, and the ways in which it can peel back the surface of seemingly plain issues to reveal their multifaceted complexities its truly wonderful. Throughout my research into the relationship between push notifications and distraction in university students, I was constantly surprised (and unsurprised).

At first, the issue was simple. It was clear that push notifications were a distraction. But as my research continued, the issue became increasingly complex. It was interesting that although students felt that they became distracted by notifications, many of them were not doing much to prevent themselves from becoming distracted. Also, the ways in which students used push notifications for organisation was intriguing. The question of why notifications were so distracting and how students were using notifications then became the focus of the research.

However, I was unable to reach a solid conclusion in my research. In retrospect, I could have added some key questions to my research to address the possibilities of behaviour, addiction, and emotional responses as possible causes of distraction. I also felt that it would have been more beneficial if I had implemented my second survey and experiment earlier into my research. That way, I would have been able to follow up on the trends that arose from them, which unfortunately remained questionable at the close of my research. Undoubtedly, this issue is relevant to the student experience and would benefit from further research to confirm or extend upon my research findings.

Through the process of partaking in this research project, I learn a lot about myself. I learnt that I have a natural curiosity which proved advantageous in my research, as it pushed me to always ask myself: why? And these “why’s” often led me down rabbit holes I had never considered to exist. I also learnt to combine my creative approach to study with my research practise to produce innovative ways of collecting data.

I believe that I managed my time well throughout the semester, but I needed to learn to internalise my stresses. This was possibly the most valuable lesson I learnt (even though it was not related to the course content). If I were to repeat my research project I would place more importance on collecting qualitative data. I would also seek trends in my data earlier and more regularly to avoid unanswered questions at the conclusion of my research.

My only criticism of the subject is that because of my personal learning style I didn’t like the use of online weekly content in place of lectures. However, I believe that partaking in BCM212 has opened my eyes to the world of research and the magnitude of issues that surround it. I feel much more confident as a researcher, as a writer, and as a person.

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