Social Norms of State University Students Concerning Alcohol Use
Alcohol use on college campuses has been a hot issue for students and faculty for many years. Yet, there is still no concrete evidence as to the effects of alcohol use on college students. The perceived situation is college students binge drink and their grades are adversely affected. Is this a social norm? The question is whether these perceived social norms towards alcohol use on college campuses are in fact the social norms of college students. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the true social norms of State University student’s attitude and practice in regards to alcohol. The sample is significant to Bradley University, using only Bradley students. The study will benefit the Wellness Center in its current social norms campaign. The study’s goal is to better understand the attitudes and practices of Bradley students toward alcohol consumption.
Before we decided what methods we were going to use to collect the information, a mock focus group was held. The mock focus group consisted of Bradley students ranging in ages from 18 through 22, and was a mixture of on-campus and off-campus students. The purpose of the mock-focus group was to decide what types of questions should be chosen to get the most useful information for the social norms campaign. The mock focus group led the study in the direction of asking students not only their personal alcohol uses, but also how other students’ drinking affects their lives. We were looking for quantitative data; therefore, the idea of a focus group was immediately rejected. Constraints of money, time and manpower prevented the use of any probability sample. Many sampling methods were looked into and a convenience sample was chosen. Constraints of time and money immediately disqualified mail surveys and intercept surveys. A convenience sample was the logical sample to produce quantitative data in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Once the sampling method was chosen a method of gathering the information had to be decided upon. The data was collected by using a group-administered survey given to students in a University required freshman course located in the Global Communications Center. The students were asked to complete the survey during class and place the completed survey in an envelope located at the front of the classroom. The group-administered survey allowed for data to be collected quickly and inexpensively. The survey consisted of checklist questions, asking such questions as gender, age, class, current residence and the amount of alcohol consumed in one week. Closed-ended questions were used for gathering such information as student’s attitudes toward alcohol use and practices of alcohol use. The survey used was pre-tested. An independent research provider coded the data and no training was needed. The convenience sample was advantageous in meeting the small budget and...