The purpose of this study was to address the under-researched theme of achievement among students in a post 1992 university in the UK. The findings are based on a case study of a cohort of first year (FY) undergraduates in a science department in a post 1992 university. Three key research approaches were deployed within this case study, namely, grounded theory, phenomenography and survey research. These three distinctive approaches have been framed within a broad interpretivist perspective in which subjectivity is managed through researcher positionality and the triangulation of data where appropriate. The research findings demonstrate that the point of registration at higher education (HE) institutions does not constitute a successful student because such a constitution is a process of becoming, involving complex meaning-making processes over time. These processes are characterised by a movement from 'outsider and potential achiever' to 'insider and reflexive achiever'. Important phases within this movement are those of: attending; being engaged and solving self-identified difficulties. In the light of the evidence gathered and the review of the existing scholarship, a detailed exploration and theorisation of these phases is offered. The preoccupation with students who fail in some way has led to a lack of research into those who succeed. This research has sought to overcome this lack by exploring the active meaning-making processes that lead undergraduates to achieve. A dynamic is identified between students' reflexive management of their FY experience and aspirations to achieve and the institutional context. This dynamic is also held to undermine the notion of students as customers awaiting satisfaction, suggesting instead that students be regarded as reflexive actors in the shaping of undergraduate achievement. This study presents a novel alternative to the prevalent deficit model in the relevant research which tends to treat students as passive bearers of diverse levels of readiness for undergraduate study. It also offers an alternative to the prevailing research on why students fail to progress or stay at university.
Alcala, Morgan (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-11)
Aims: The main aim of this research was to add depth of understanding and a human voice to existing research on the maternal experience of having a child with night-time sleep difficulties. It was hoped that this increased understanding could be used by counselling psychologists, not only in their own clinical practice but also when supporting physical health practitioners who have direct contact with this client group. Method: Five semi-structured interviews were conducted with mothers who had children over the age of one who were experiencing night-time sleep difficulties. The interviews were transcribed and analysed in accordance with grounded theory methods. A constructivist version of grounded theory was utilised as outlined by Charmaz (2006). Analysis: A central story line of ‘no choice but to function’ emerged. This refers to the place where these mothers found themselves after attempts to solve their child’s sleep problem had proved ineffective, and describes a state of both ‘coping’ and immense struggle. A number of categories were identified which contribute to this central storyline. A process was identified that outlined the stages that all participants moved through as they encountered and adapted to this experience. Personal Conflicts were also identified which described the experience and impact of fatigue, uncertainty and conflicting emotions. Categories of Responsibility and Isolation also emerged and were found to potentially lead to many personal needs not being met iii and a lack of engagement with support (including that of health professionals). Furthermore, a category of Coping highlighted not only the participants’ reflections on how they coped but also potential future avenues of support. Conclusion: The aims of this research were met with a deeper understanding of this population being obtained and a human voice being added to the existing research on this subject. Findings from this research offer a theoretical model which highlights not only the physical, emotional and systemic struggles encountered by the participants that were interviewed, but also provides suggestions based on these findings for future research and clinical practice.
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