Key Issues from January Team Meeting
Issues regarding Work Packages
- WP1 Team Meetings
Team meetings will act as a key focus point in relation to the work of the project but contact to be maintained between meetings by emails and the website.
- WP 4 Choosing the Sample of Participants
The team will look at Strauss and Corbin’s 1990 approach to grounded theory but some sampling may have to be opportunistic.
- WPs 5 Student Interviews
Colleagues are from different disciplinary backgrounds therefore have different approaches to interviewing. Some partners will transcribe all interviews others will not but will document each interview and choose key passages & keep as an audio file.
- WP 11 Evaluation
Questions to be drafted in the following areas:
Process and communication, including language
Aims and objectives
New ideas for the future
Flagging things for the future
Lead partner: Seville
- Provisional Interview Themes
Important to explain the purpose of the research to participants. Agreed to start the interview with the learning story. Important to include parents, family and background history in order to obtain the learning story. Use the narrative structure for the first stage of the interview and the 2nd / 3rd stages to use more structured questions.
What brings you into HE? How you started to be an HE student?
Experience of lectures and seminars. Which lecturers / students are significant to you?
Excitements / anxieties/resources of hope
What keeps you going on?
Broader social and personal issues
Process – diary
Relationship between initial schooling & later learning
Critical incident – how does that story become a foundation for the self – residue & traces of banks of memories
2nd phase of the interview
Social background (class, gender, ethnicity)
Mentors – people who supported them as a leaner
Structural barriers / support
Access and university experience
- Learning Diaries
The aim of the diary is to complement the interview and add more depth and understanding. The diary does not have to be written on a regular basis – it could, for example, be written after a critical incident. The diary does not have to be in written form.
- Access and Retention: exploratory discussion
Useful to think of access in terms of access and accessibility:
Access – getting prepared for university study
Accessibility – relates to how accessible the learning and teaching approaches are as well the institution itself.
Retention and drop-out are key access issues. Retention relates to what happens in university and how well you are prepared for university study. The term drop-out suggests that a person is being active as a person chooses, for whatever reason, to drop-out. Drop-out is generally viewed as negative by policy makers but it can also be a positive use of agency. Even if students do not complete they may gain educationally, socially etc from it.
Two types of knowledge were identified and discussed as these were considered relevant.
Common knowledge – knowledge which students bring with them to the university (life experiences). This often clashes with college knowledge or epistemology.
College knowledge – is academic knowledge.
A need to look at the inter-relationship between vocational, ‘college’ and ‘common knowledge’. How to reconcile these forms of knowledge? This is particularly an issue for adult students. If the different types of knowledge do not meet then a student may experience ‘kick out’ (a silencing by the institution).
Research shows that peer group support is important to help adults keep going on. Is this the same for younger students? Key concept: the concept of learning career and Becker’s work on medical students in which he argues that students learn to ‘play the game’ in order to survive and achieve in their studies. Also need to look at academic cultures (Becher, Bourdieu) and how they respond to diverse groups.
Different partner/countries have very different access and retention policies and practices.
- Scientific Issues from 1st Team Meeting Evaluation
With this type of research, always a compromise between time & money. Two different research approaches within the project research team but there is a wish to be eclectic and an acceptance of the different positions. The two positions are the psychological and the sociological. Sociology is more inter-subjective. Psychology is more about the subjective and the unconscious. This leads to two different methodological approaches.