Magoosh GRE

The impact of part-time work on the academic performance of international students in Glasgow.

| November 23, 2012

Part 1: Introduction


Some researchers (e.g. Steinberg & Suzanne, 1993; Lee & Ju, 2010) claim that part-time work experiences have negative effects on adolescent development, which are mainly study on the effect of their problem behaviors and school disengagement. Other research (Rochford et al, 2009: 601) also have found an inverse relationship between working time and course performance. However, there is little data relating to international students and it is still not clear enough how part-time works affect the students’ performance in their academic classes at school. This research will explore that how part-time work affects the international students in Glasgow on the scope of academic performance at college. In particular, this research will focus on the influence of different variables, such as the impacts from different kinds of part-time jobs, the impacts from different working hours per week, and so on. Such research would give insights into reasonable standards for international students to choose part-time jobs, which could also provide useful data for the further researches in the relevant aspects.


1. To explore the advantages for international students to have part-time jobs.

2. To explore the disadvantages for international students to have part-time jobs.

3. To examine the impacts on international students’ academic performance from different variables, such as different kinds of part-time jobs, different working hours per week, and so on.



1. What are the positive impacts of part-time work on the academic performance of international students in Glasgow?

2. What are the negative impacts of part-time work on the academic performance of international students in Glasgow?

3. What variables affect the impacts on international students’ academic performance?

Part 2: Literature Review

Many students have part-time jobs during their academic years. Both the positive and negative impacts on students’ course performance from their term-time works have presented by many researches. For instance, according to Rochford et al (2009), in the nursing subject, approximately 90% of students engaged in part-time jobs, 47% of them do part-time jobs with the purpose of financing their every day expenses, and almost 25% of students worked in more than one job. However, from these data, the research of Rochford et al found that there was only a slight negative result on students’ course performance caused by part-time work types.

Except the types of part-time jobs, other factors in term-time jobs which could have an influence on students’ academic achievements also have been considered, for example, working hours (Rochford, Connolly, and Drennan, 2009: 601-609). According to Derous & Ryan (2008), in the United States, 80% of students are employed during the school time, with 46% working over 20 hours per week. The result of investigation illustrated that undergraduates’ working hours were inversely related to students’ study motivation, study attitude, and academic achievement, the worst effects also appear when students worked excessively long hour (Derous & Ryan, 2008:118-131). In addition, similar finding also have been discovered in other researches with more clear working-hour criterion, which show that students who work exceeded the

standard of sixteen hours per week will more likely to have negative outcomes in their academic performance. (Sorenson & Winn, 1993; Taylor & Smith, 1997; Carney, 2000; Salamonson & Andrew, 2006). However, some of the above research only choose the sample from a specific major (e.g. nursing subject in the research of Rochford et al), while others may merely survey in one area and unable to generalize the situation in other places. Though the results from them are valuable for future research in some extent, it did not consider much about the different impacts from students’ nationalities and background, also lack of information to gain a general conclude for other specific groups or places, for example, the group of international students in the city of Glasgow.

On the other hand, Derous & Ryan (2008) assert that part-time work also have advantages for students’ academic outcomes and preparation for the future career when the job relevant for students’ major and ran in a balanced way. Both students’ study attitudes and performance benefited more when working hours was combined with high autonomous motivation to perform the job, more specific, most positive effects would from the combination of low working hours and high job demands. Their research found plenty of information to illustrate the impact of employment and leisure activities on students’ study attitude and well-being, while fewer significant effects on the aspects of academic performance. Also, sample chosen there were psychology students, mostly white and female, therefore limit the general covering for other group of students.

It can be seen that still further research is needed to expand the variety of samples in different places and nationalities of relevant study fields. This research will in some extend to fill this gap by mainly focus on the international students in Glasgow who have or used have part-time jobs during their academic year, and examine that whether different kinds of term-time jobs, different working hours per week and other variables would affect the international students’ academic performance. Both advantages and disadvantages would be given based on the collected data in order to provide suitable suggestions for international students to keep balance between work and study, and help the relevant education institutions making decisions on future policies.

Part 3: Methods

The purpose of this research is to find both the advantages and disadvantages for international students to enroll part-time works, and to examine the various impacts of part-time jobs on international students’ academic performance.

Surveys will be chosen as the research strategy for this topic. One reason for choosing surveys is the restrictions of time. Only a few weeks will be given to collect relevant data, therefore, using surveys could more likely to gain sufficient data within the short-limited time compare to other research strategies (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009:144-145). Another reason is the monetary limitation, according to Saunders et al; surveys could allow the collection of data in a relatively economical way.  

In addition, the choice of population for this research is all international students in Glasgow who have or used have part-time jobs during their academic years. According to Creswell (2007), 25 to 30 interviews will be a sufficient sample for a wide range of research questions. Therefore, data of this research will be collected from a non-probability sample of 30 international students at Glasgow University. The reason for using non-probability sampling technique is that lack of information to create the complete list of all international students in Glasgow. As a result, this research can not use probability technique to provide equal opportunity for each sample unit. More specifically, snowball sampling will be used as the consideration of the strain on time. Though snowball samples might be criticized as unrepresentative, for those researches which aim to study the behaviors in real society, such as this research do, snowball samples may produce better results than other sample methods ( Wright & Stein, 2005: 495-500).

For the methods of this research, both self-questionnaires and unstructured interviews will be used. Because this research can be defined as an explanatory research, and standardized questions in questionnaires will enable to examine the causal relationships between different variables  (Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill,

2009: 361-366). On the other hand, unstructured interviews will help to find the in-depth reasons behind these collected data and to seek new insight (Robson, 2002).


Week 1 – Week 2: Preparing suitable questions for questionnaires;

Week 3 – Week 6: Collecting data;

Week 7 – Week 9: Data analyzing;

Week 10 – Week 11: Finishing the full research.

Part 4: Ethical Considerations


Firstly, this research will collect the answer of questionnaires from at least 30 participants, also may record five or more interviews. Therefore, in order to protect the participants’ rights and show full respect to them, every participant in this research will be informed complete information about research nature, purpose, and the use of research. In addition, all the participants have right to withdraw at any times. Secondly, for mitigating the participants’ worry of privacy information disclosure, all questionnaires for this research will be conducted anonymously and the responds will be destroyed after the research (British Educational Research Association, 2004:8-9). Thirdly, for non-malfeasance consideration, some pilot questionnaires will be tasted in a small group of people to check whether those questions will misunderstand participants or make interviewees under stress or feel anxious. Finally, the data analyzing of this research will objective and not aims on predict any suitable result (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009:199-200).

Part 4: References


BERA: British Educational Research Association. (2004). Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. Pp. 8-9.

Carney, C. (2000). The Impact of Part-Time Employment on Student Health and Well-Being. A Report Commissioned by the Principal of the University of Glasgow, Glasgow.

Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches (2nd edn). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Derous, E. & Ryan, A. M. (2008). When earning is beneficial for learning: The relation of employment and leisure activities to academic outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73, pp. 118-131.

Lee, M. & Ju, E. (2010). Effects of part – time work on adolescent development in Korea. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, pp. 3226 – 3230.

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research (2nd edn). Oxford: Blackwell.

Rochford, C., Connolly, M., & Drennan, J. (2009). Paid part-time employment and academic performance of undergraduate nursing students. Nurse Education Today, p.601.

Salamonson, Y. & Andrew, S. (2006). Academic performance in nursing students: Influence of part-time employment, age and ethnicity. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 55 (3), 342–349.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. (5th ed.). Harlow: FT/Prentice Hall.

Sorenson, L. & Winn, S. (1993). Student loans: a case study. Higher Education Review, 25, pp. 48-65.

Steinberg, L., Fegley, S. M. & Dornbusch, S. M. (1993). Negative impact of part-time work on adolescent adjustment – evidence from a longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 292, pp. 171 – 180.

Taylor, P. & Smith, N. (1997). The ‘Student Worker’: The Glasgow Evidence. Scottish Low Pay Unit: Glasgow.

Wright, P. & Stein, M. (2005). Snowball Sampling. Encyclopedia of Social Measurement. USA: Academic Press. pp. 495-500.

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