Student experiences of full-time education courses in Higher Education: an empirical and theoretical investigation
AbstractThe aim of this study was to explore the experiences and decision-making processes of students whilst studying within higher education. Changes within the higher education system in areas such as educational provision and the student population itself have resulted in higher education being central to much theoretical debate. This study adopted three research methods to enable an exploration of the main themes. These three research methods were: *Questionnaire survey of 194 first and second year Education students. *Four focus group interviews of final year Education students. * Nine individual access route interviews (Thombs, 1997) with final year Education students. All of the student participants were studying at one particular university and on one of four courses within Education, these being: B. Ed Prhnary; B. Ed Secondary; BA Secondary; Combined Studies in Education. The study developed a theoretical model that represented the decision-making processes of students both prior to and within higher education. The theoretical framework recognised the relationship between macro (society), meso (institutional), and micro (individual) factors, and attempted to develop the agency-structure debate. The research found age and associated responsibilities to have a significant influence on students' choices and decisioý-making processes whilst in higher education. Cultural capital and social capital were found to be influential on pre-university perceptions, choices, and experiences, influencing the likelihood of continuing education. Changes in the student population were evident in relation to the students' characteristics and backgrounds, access routes followed into higher education, and experiences of higher education. These findings highlighted that the student population are not a homogeneous group and thus questions the term 'traditional' student.
CitationAston, S.J. (2001), Student experiences of full-time education courses in Higher Education : an empirical and theoretical investigation, PhD thesis, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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