In the recent past education has being considered as a basic necessity in molding both character and professionals in specific fields. Burbules and Torres (2000), note that the value of education has attracted global attention with most states heavily investing in educational facilities to enhance the quality of education. This is because the positive impact of education in people’s lifestyles is evident. Burbules (2000) further notes that the value of education in people’s lifestyles is what sets them apart from animals. The impact of education in people’s lifestyles is evident in from the manner they think, solve problems, and socialize with others and the character they exhibit. Education remains a key player in determining one’s future success.
These positive impacts of education in one’s lifestyle are what interest me, because it gives hope to our future. It transforms both the economic and social status picture into something remarkable with positive results in one’s lifestyles (Preece, 2006). Education has facilitated creativity and innovation al with the aim of improving our living conditions. Eaxleee (2008), observes that education is crucial in our lifestyles today. He notes that in addition to the above mentioned importance, education has the following impacts in our lives.
- It increases our wisdom
- Helps us adapt change
- It leads to an enriching life of self fulfillment
- Fosters change and development
Reports in the conversations and literature with most adult students and professionals depict the fact that education is valued and has had great positive impacts on many individuals. Research carried out by Dr. West in 2009 indicate that most professionals attribute their success to their educational backgrounds such as early involvement in leadership, and the ability of education to widen their minds. This paper aims at establishing the positive impacts on education in our lives. The paper will also focus on the manner in which education changes one’s way thinking and solving problems with special emphasis on the future impacts of education to our lifestyles. The paper will apply qualitative research method in attaining these objectives because it is easy to understand and cheap to apply. Therefore, the impacts of education in our lives will be appropriately depicted by the qualitative research method.
A qualitative research approach was applied in this study with the phenomenology theoretical perspective which is common in most qualitative research methods (West, 2009). The phenomenological approach was mainly applied in a quest o understand the underlying value of education to individuals as depicted by the societies they live in. In addition, the context proved to be crucial in interpretation of data collected because this method requires that the researcher be focused on the sense of meaning that others give to their own circumstances and not present his personal views.
This method was found to be suitable in these circumstances mainly because it affirmed the importance of the interviewees’ perspectives and the manner in which they view this topic (West, 2009). Although questions as to the reliability and validity of this method have been raised, it still stands out as the methods which can allow a researcher to objectively carry out a study of the subjective a described by Dr. West, R. in 2009. The qualitative research method applied in this study involved a rigorous process of collecting, analyzing, and revising the conceptions and images of interviewees.
My orientation in this research remained crucial to the success of this study and it remained a privilege to be an observer. My interviewees were composed of graduates who has just finished colleges were still green in the career fields and professionals with varsity experience in the field of law, medicine and engineering. This is because such people have experienced life and have knowledge on the positive impacts that education is likely to have on their lifestyles. These groups of interviewees are also likely to open up and say exactly what they feel about my research questions because they have gone through enough experiences in life. These interviewees were recruited from departmental offices within an oil company and a national hospital.
The data I collected through this method included words, vocal and facial expressions, feelings, attitudes and other sort of behaviors involved. The data was stored inform of field notes from the observations I made and interview transcripts which helped facilitate the success of the rigorous analysis I did on my research question. The process I engaged throughout the study-included collection, analysis and coding of the study as depicted in most qualitative research methods (West, 2009). The blending of these the processes encouraged flexibility which proved to be an essential ingredient all through my study because it enabled me acquire more information and appropriately analyze the data that was relevant to my study.
West (2009) asserts that many scholars have acknowledged the importance of qualitative methods in the fields of education and its impacts to our lifestyles. He notes Rubenson (1999) and Mezirow (1975) as some of these scholars. Apparently, there seems to exist a call for descriptive studies as to the importance of education in individual lifestyles. Rubenson (1999) acknowledged the importance of studying depth interviews to the emerging debate on the impact of education in our lifestyles. Mezirow (1975) stressed that qualitative studies capture the richness of living encompassed with the fullness of experience. He encouraged the application of qualitative analysis as a means of testing both theories and assumptions. These crucial perspectives provided by qualitative researchers created the foundation for my personal research methodology.
3.0 Research Procedures and Design
Following the observations and assumptions made above, the qualitative study of the lifestyles of graduates and professionals was proposed which applied semi-structured interviews as the basic research approach. The research began with unstructured questions such as “How has education changed your lifestyles?” Often, there was only a n occasional question from me for the purposes of clarification.
I managed to carry out 30 interviews scheduled that were scheduled between January 4th and April, 8th 2011. A total of 5 three interviews were carried each week with the last two weeks being used to analyze the obtained data so as to understand my research findings. All interviews carried out were tape recorded and accompanied by relevant hard copies of the interviews. The interviews were open-ended and followed a conversational style. It approximately took 45 minutes for each interview. I also took down field notes in relevance to the interviews and included the observations I made and my casual encounters with my interviewees. I also prepared memoranda of each particular taped interview. In addition to the interviews, I also acquired some data that include comments made teaching and administrative colleagues, papers and other secondary sources that gave me an ongoing literature review about this particular topic.
Finally, I entered all the taped interviews, field notes, and memoranda into computer files. I applied the Ethnographer, which is a software used in coding files into organized themes and topics to systematically arrange the files for easy future access and references. A scheme of letters and numbers was applied in designating major categories and subcategories to make the data more clear and easy to understand. I also ensured that hard copies were made available. I am optimistic that the data analyzed will continue being of great importance for future references. The script below shows part of the interview that I conducted with the Saudi Aramco Oil company field engineer called Qui Ching.
Qtn. Why do you think education is important?
Ans. Education shapes character and help model persons into reputable individuals in the society. It is therefore important.
Qtn. How did your educational background shape you to who you are today?
Ans. My educational background helped me get conversant with my societal norms and it helped mould my character to suit the society in which I live in. It made me conversant with my cultures and religions that are reflected in the moral values I uphold today.
Qtn. Do you think education has greatly influenced your lifestyle?
Ans. Apparently, it has. Education is what has seen me through my career. It gave me the basic life and professionals skills that I apply in my professional life today. Trough these skills am able to earn a living!
Qtn. How has education affected your social life?
Ans. The leadership skills I acquired throughout my study life have seen me through the corporate management ladder because they positively influence the manner in which I socialize with colleagues and address problems.
4.0 Results and Discussions
After analyzing the field data obtained, it was evident that education has played a crucial role in molding individual characters. As one of the interviewees put it when asked why education is important he explained, “Educations plays an important role in shaping character…” Faure (2003), asserts that education is important in our daily lifestyles because it shapes character by widening one’s mind, magnifying our wisdom and changing one’s way of thinking and interpreting life problems.
It was also seen that education greatly contributes into building successful careers that earn a way of living for many individuals. When an interviewee who was a lawyer was asked the question as to how his education background had shaped him to who he was today, he was quick to note that education equipped him with the necessary skills to make rational judgments and relevant decisions in life and this is reflected by his career as a lawyer. Many scholars have attributed the success of competent professionals to quality educational backgrounds (Preece, 2006). For instance, lawyers from universities such as Harvard are seen as competent enough compared to their colleagues from Brooks law school.
From the research, education was also seen as being pivotal to economic development and social restructuring. This was reflected by the answers given by most interviewees when they were asked what they thought was the importance of education to an individual’s future success. Most of them were of the pinion that quality education trigger development in a nation. This is also attributed in the works of Preece (20006) that associates quality education with the America’s economic success.