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Parents' experiences of their child's Higher Education choice process

Parents' experiences of their child's Higher Education choice process
Parents' experiences of their child's Higher Education choice process
This thesis considers a critical aspect of marketing: choice and decision-making in a context experiencing change and marketisation – HE. Its aim is to explore the HE choice process from parents’ perspective, at a time of increasing parental involvement. Much of the literature on choice and decision-making takes a quantitative approach with an underlying assumption that choices are rational. Contrastingly, there is a body of literature which looks at under-represented groups. My study responds to this by adopting an interpretivist approach, informed by aspects of phenomenology, which captures the accounts of 16 parents’ lived experiences of this choice process and of the meanings that they attribute to them. It examines their experiences holistically, recognising the situated and extended nature of this process and noting that it is a choice made with and for someone else. It also considers parents’ different approaches to involvement and the various roles they play. Participants experienced this process as parents, not as consumers. Choice in an HE context is about relationships and relationship maintenance. Participants described working hard to avoid conflict and trying to be persuasive and occasions when they worked as a team with their child. This relationship also often influenced the type and degree of involvement they had. Working with their child generated a range of emotions. This relational aspect is missing from much of the marketing literature which privileges individual choice. It matters because not only are many choices intra-relational, but also in the context of HE, assumptions are made that this choice is ‘rational’ and approached from a consumer perspective and that providing more information will result in ‘better’ choices. However, this is a highly complex experience which is all about the relationship at a crucial phase, resulting in parents working hard to maintain it, including by being prepared to compromise.
Haywood, Helen
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Haywood, Helen
6bfbc631-8fb8-4f56-869b-23e3ce622cda
Dyke, Martin
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Brockmann, Michaela
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(2015) Parents' experiences of their child's Higher Education choice process. University of Southampton, School of Education, Doctoral Thesis, 279pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis considers a critical aspect of marketing: choice and decision-making in a context experiencing change and marketisation – HE. Its aim is to explore the HE choice process from parents’ perspective, at a time of increasing parental involvement. Much of the literature on choice and decision-making takes a quantitative approach with an underlying assumption that choices are rational. Contrastingly, there is a body of literature which looks at under-represented groups. My study responds to this by adopting an interpretivist approach, informed by aspects of phenomenology, which captures the accounts of 16 parents’ lived experiences of this choice process and of the meanings that they attribute to them. It examines their experiences holistically, recognising the situated and extended nature of this process and noting that it is a choice made with and for someone else. It also considers parents’ different approaches to involvement and the various roles they play. Participants experienced this process as parents, not as consumers. Choice in an HE context is about relationships and relationship maintenance. Participants described working hard to avoid conflict and trying to be persuasive and occasions when they worked as a team with their child. This relationship also often influenced the type and degree of involvement they had. Working with their child generated a range of emotions. This relational aspect is missing from much of the marketing literature which privileges individual choice. It matters because not only are many choices intra-relational, but also in the context of HE, assumptions are made that this choice is ‘rational’ and approached from a consumer perspective and that providing more information will result in ‘better’ choices. However, this is a highly complex experience which is all about the relationship at a crucial phase, resulting in parents working hard to maintain it, including by being prepared to compromise.

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More information

Published date: December 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Education School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 389515
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/389515
PURE UUID: 8583485d-7bc6-4691-973f-a8468687d886
ORCID for Michaela Brockmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4978-1883

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Mar 2016 12:36
Last modified: 25 Jul 2019 00:31

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Contributors

Author: Helen Haywood
Thesis advisor: Martin Dyke
Thesis advisor: Michaela Brockmann ORCID iD

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