(empathy) Week 4-5: Interviewing the students – primary research

First data collection

It time we took the issue of empathy to the people at NTU.

We interviewed a range of students, each from different faculties. We spoke to full time, international and exchange students to get a variety of responses. Originally started with a formal interview style. We then swapped to informal due to the emotional nature of the issue. This style allowed us to feel like we could bond with the students more, allowing us to get deeper insights into the problem such as the following.

“It depends on my mood… I’ll be less empathetic when I’m feeling tired.”

“I guess it’s just that different places have different norms… and people have a tendency not to be ‘the odd one’.”

“Umm… what do you mean by empathy?”

The students were often confused by the concept of empathy. Awareness and understanding were the two drawbacks when conducting the interviews. They were unsure of empathy and how they showed it to others. Also, most of them hadn’t noticed a lack of empathy on campus. Lack of empathy is ingrained in our nature. Students suggested that it was a cultural factor. “It is just how Singaporean’s are” or “it’s just who we are” were common remarks from students.

When speaking to students we noted the issue was higher in competitive degrees such as NBS. It was clear that student were more self focused as they were forced to compete against each other for marks, internships or potential jobs. ADM students spoke about better levels of empathy levels amongst their peers.

These were all important challenge we would have to address in the ideation stage.

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