Emotional work: students realising, negotiating and overcoming barriers

Wintrup, Julie, James, Elizabeth, Humphris, Debra and Bryson, Colin (2012) Emotional work: students realising, negotiating and overcoming barriers. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 4, (2), 170-185. (doi:10.1108/17581181211273156).


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Purpose – The purpose of the research is to explore Foundation degree students’ experience of an innovative curriculum, designed to enable pathway choices and widen access to Honour's degree programmes in a wide range of health professions and Social Work.

Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal, cohort design followed three years’ of entrants through their degree and in some cases beyond. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were carried out by a dedicated researcher at approximately yearly intervals.

Findings – Social networks and friendship groups emerged as pivotal to participants’ well-being and persistence. Institutional barriers included communication problems and a lack of information about timetables and other practical issues. Over time participants came to assert their needs and confront problems, individually and collectively, describing a more questioning and assertive approach to their study and work lives.

Research limitations/implications – The experiences over time of students who leave university are needed to explore the role of social group membership and the effect of practical problems. A limitation of the study is that their views are not captured.

Practical implications – The importance of naturally-occurring social groups in creating persistence at university has implications for curriculum design and resources (time/space) to support this activity.

Social implications – Widening access to HE brings with it new responsibilities to support students over time as transitions occur through programmes of study and during vacation periods.

Originality/value – Flexible approaches to education are generally seen to benefit mature students but can be stressful and require good and timely information.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1108/17581181211273156
ISSNs: 1758-1184 (print)
Keywords: foundation degree, health care, higher education, persistence, student engagement, students, widening participation
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions : Faculty of Health Sciences
Professional Services > Vice Chancellor's Office
ePrint ID: 345564
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2012 12:25
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:37
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/345564

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