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Collaborative research into the student experience A methodological argument with examples Mantz Yorke, Lancaster University & Nick Hooper, Yorkshire &

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Presentation on theme: "Collaborative research into the student experience A methodological argument with examples Mantz Yorke, Lancaster University & Nick Hooper, Yorkshire &"— Presentation transcript:

1 Collaborative research into the student experience A methodological argument with examples Mantz Yorke, Lancaster University & Nick Hooper, Yorkshire & Humber East Lifelong Learning Network EAN Conference, York St John University 23 June 2009

2 The basic argument 1. Practice-focused research is burgeoning 2. Its often conducted in isolation 3. Hence cross-linking and cumulation tend not to happen, save after the event 4. So the full potential value of the work isnt reached

3 The basic argument, ctd 5. If colleagues work together from the start, greater benefit can accrue: (a) the evidence-base is widened (b) there is benchmarking potential (c) research capacity can be built 6. If those responsible for funding studies were to be more strategic in their approach, they might well obtain greater value for the money that they invest

4 Developing capacity Researching into the student experience is challenging There is a range of possible research methods (quantitative and qualitative) There are ethical considerations Theres a need to appreciate the limitations of the different methodologies Working collegially aids the development of expertise ( particularly important where there is little or no tradition of undertaking research )

5 Example 1: Part-time students experience Access report via > research & evaluation > surveys Hardly any empirical data PT HE is an important policy area Yet not even modest funding available 11 Post-92 universities agreed to contribute ( staff time & expenses ) in exchange for data with benchmarking potential Ethics: BERA Guidelines used Postgraduate and undergraduate students surveyed via the web: 2871 responses

6 Example 1: PT students experience, ctd Weak response rate: better than nothing, hence need for caution in drawing conclusions Responses from 1130 PG; 1170 BA/BSc; 530 Other Generally positive reactions, but … 2 areas of particular concern: (a) infilling on FT courses (b) organisation & management for PT students Some institutions used the data for enhancement

7 Example 1: Some access-related findings Little difference on rating items (SES; gender) Tendency to be more positive with increasing age Differences here & there between ethnic groups, e.g. - Asian students had more difficulty with home study and were most likely to say academic work was hard - Black and Asian students were more positive about friendship - White British were least worried about financing Disability declared were less positive about - programme organisation - assessment scheduling - computing and library resources - financing, but numbers are small, so caution needed

8 Example 2: PT FD students experience FDF funding Mixture of HE and FE, hence approach via 6 LLNs Web-based survey (for speed, cost); hard-copy Plan B 27 institutions/organisations participated Responses from 372 students ( a few more to be added ); dominated by Education

9 Example 2: PT FD students experience, ctd Respondents demographics Gender Male 59; Female 302 Age : 104; : 114; : 111 SES Managerial 162 ; Intermediate 66 ; Supervisory etc 55 EthnicityAlmost all White British Disability declared? 23

10 Example 2: Gender

11 Example 2: Previous HE

12 Example 2: Socio-economic group

13 Example 2: Dependants

14 Example 2: Disability

15 Example 2: Age

16 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience YHELLN is a partnership initiative Increasing opportunities for vocational learners in HE 4 Research themes: Employer engagement Widening participation & student diversity Learner constituency Progression Within these, a study set up of the usefulness of FD, HNC experience

17 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience Not much known about how useful FD and HNC have been to individuals in the world of work YHELLN funding 3 institutions involved to date Web-based survey (for speed, cost) Responses from 35 FD and 19 HNC students to date

18 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience, ctd Respondents demographics Gender Male 24; Female 30 Age Up to 30 : 24; : 24; Over 50 : 6 SES Managerial 24 ; Intermediate 11 ; Supervisory etc 10 EthnicityAll White British Disability declared? 1

19 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience, ctd HNC students generally more positive about their experience. However, the data were collected from some of the very first FD students FD students more positive about - Balancing academic and other commitments - Discussing academic work with fellow students - Making friends via the course - The benefit accruing to them from the course 16 FD and 8 HNC students went on to higher study ( roughly equivalent proportions )

20 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience, ctd Who paid? ( More than one response possible ) FD (N=35) HNC (N=19) FeesAncillaryFeesAncillary Self Employer Local Authority

21 Example 3: FD & HNC students experience, ctd Usefulness of the qualification FD Yes 20; No 5; Equivocal 4; No comment 6 HNC Yes 10; No 4; No comment 5

22 Some concluding points These three examples are primarily quantitative surveys, but collaboration isnt limited to quantitative work Their findings will be of value not only to those whose focus is access matters, but also to a variety of interested parties Collaboration enhances ownership accentuates the chances of benchmarking can open up questions spanning institutions and sectors can help to build research capacity potentially improves value for money However, collaboration takes time and effort to set up!


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