Working class students, Higher Education and the challenges of gaining access: from methodological to substantive issues

Crozier, Gill and Clayton, John (2007) Working class students, Higher Education and the challenges of gaining access: from methodological to substantive issues. Building Research Capacity, 12. pp. 3-5. ISSN 1475-4193

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Official URL: http://www.tlrp.org/capacity/issue12.pdf

Abstract

Accessing participants in qualitative research is often one of the most difficult aspects of the research process. It is also one of the least written about in research methodology. In our research project: The socio-cultural and learning experiences of working class students in Higher Education, accessing students has been particularly difficult; given the main focus is on working class students, this fact takes on a certain poignancy. However, adopting a reflective approach to the access process we were able to capitalise on the challenges we were confronted with. In so doing we have been able to demonstrate that this is not merely a mechanical, albeit necessary, research task but in fact this process enabled us to gain insights into: the structure and organisation and systems of the institutions involved; and the attitudes of the heads of department, tutors and admissions tutors, all personnel who are key to the learning experiences of the students we are researching. Their display of a range of attitudes, towards us as ‘outsiders’, alerted us to think about the students’ own first impressions, and the kinds of reception they encountered on first going to university. Also, significantly, it has raised issues about institutional monitoring of working class student admissions and the institutions’ widening participation strategy and policy in particular.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2015 15:12
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 15:12
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/24791

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