The Problem
While redesigning the Department of Design's website ( in early 2019, Gabe Tippery identified the need to reevaluate the department's communication strategy for recruiting undergraduate students. Specifically, Gabe wanted to learn more about how high school students decided where to apply to college, and whether the Design Department's website was a useful resource for them during the process.
With Gabe's input, and guidance from faculty advisors, I interviewed pre-freshmen students during orientation week, then developed a survey to enable Gabe to learn more about this student population.
Research Question
What factors do high school students consider when applying to universities with design programs?
Research and Design Process
1. Interviewed first-year Design students and parents
2. Transcribed interview recordings
3. Analyzed transcripts
4. Designed the survey with input from Gabe
Interviews and Analysis
During freshmen orientation I recruited and interviewed 14 first-year students and parents about their experience during the college application process.
I developed a discussion guide with information about the study, a consent form, and three open-ended interview questions.
Survey Development
With insights from my interview analysis, I sketched concepts for the survey flow on a white board wall and wrote survey questions. I invited Gabe to critique the survey design. We worked together to refine the survey questions and flow.
Then, I developed a survey flow map to guide my work building the survey in Qualtrics.
Finally, I built the survey in Gabe's Qualtrics account and ran pilot tests to ensure it functioned as intended.
Gabe has deployed the survey multiple times, and captured valuable data from nearly 100 first-year design students. The survey has helped him learn more about the experiences of traditional first-year college students, and in his efforts to refine the department's recruitment strategy. Gabe also uses survey data as evidence in grant funding requests on behalf of the Department of Design.
Project Scope
Duration: May – August, 2019
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA
MFA student project
Advisors: Professors Paul J. Nini and Dr Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
Gabe Tippery, Undergraduate Student Advisor, The Ohio State University Department of Design
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