Students as Workers Facing Real-World Problems

To increase the success of a field study, narrow its scope so that the problem can be addressed completely, suggests Charles Jett, an educational consultant in Wheaton, Illinois. “The level of sophistication of the field study must not be beyond the students’ ability to succeed in the process of conducting it,” he says. He presents the following examples in a booklet about field studies co-authored with Joe C. McKee:

For a Local Bank: The student team focused on identifying the market for banking services at the high school level. They discovered that while the local bank provided services for small children, the emerging financial needs of teenagers and their access to financial products were largely ignored. The team developed ideas for such services and presented their findings and recommendations to the bank for implementation.

For the City Manager and City Council: The student team surveyed ten communities to determine different approaches used by those communities to fund local historical preservation societies. The team presented their findings and recommendations at a public meeting of the city council.

For a Credit Reporting Agency: The student team investigated the financial impact of the agency’s acquiring an “800” number and how that impact would be reflected in an increase of agency member dues.