Widening participation in higher education: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the aspirations of young people living in low participation neighbourhoods.

Bickle, E., 2018. Widening participation in higher education: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the aspirations of young people living in low participation neighbourhoods. Doctorate Thesis (Doctorate). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

As part of the policy of widening participation, higher education institutions are required to provide effective, targeted outreach programmes to raise the aspirations of certain groups of young people to aspire to higher education. Whilst research, particularly in the short-term, suggests that these outreach programmes are successful at raising aspirations, there is a lack of interpretative research approaches that examine aspiration as a construct of everyday lived experience. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis as a research approach, a series of interviews were conducted with five students across Years 9 and 10. The students all lived in Low Participation Neighbourhoods and attended the same secondary school in the south of England. The interviews explored experiences, perceptions and reflections on their current life and possible future selves. Through the creation of three super-ordinate themes: ‘Empowerment’; ‘Familiarity’; and ‘Broadening Horizons’, the study found that the participants do not lack aspiration, indeed they all have some form of aspiration towards higher education as well as aspiring to ‘middle-class’ professions. The study found that these aspirations are firmly set within the contexts of their individual lives and experiences and that the young people attach a worth to certain aspirations which makes them, in the context of their lives, seem realistic and desirable. The implications of this study are that it should be recognised that aspirations in young people are based on what happens to them in their own everyday world. It, therefore, creates possibilities to develop outreach programmes that recognise and encompass the wider everyday experiences of these young people. This would provide a more nuanced and bespoke approach to supporting young people in embracing and nurturing their aspirations, as opposed to a primary focus on ‘raising’ aspirations towards higher education. If their ‘capacity’ to aspire can be increased, then ultimately the young people will feel empowered and confident in deciding whether higher education is for them, so that one day they may become exactly what they once dreamed of becoming.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctorate)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:widening participation; interpretative phenomenological analysis; aspiration; fair access
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:31112
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:08 Aug 2018 10:09
Last Modified:08 Aug 2018 10:09

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