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Postgraduate researchers ’ experiences of accessing participants via gatekeepers : ‘ wading through treacle !’.

Spacey, A., Harvey, O. and Casey, C., 2021. Postgraduate researchers ’ experiences of accessing participants via gatekeepers : ‘ wading through treacle !’. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 45 (4), 433-450.

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Gatekeeper_study_revised after peer review.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2020.1774051


ABSTRACT Research exploring both the general experiences of postgraduate research students when interacting with gatekeepers and how this affects their progress and emotional resilience is currently lacking. Consequently, this study aims to explore the experience of postgraduate researchers interact- ing with gatekeepers to develop an understanding of both the challenges and enablers. A mixed-methods online questionnaire was distributed inter- nationally to postgraduate researchers. N = 66 questionnaires were returned. Analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data highlighted that postgraduate researchers face a range of challenges when using gate- keepers to access participants for studies, and that there is a negative emotional impact arising when challenges are faced. Thematic analysis revealed six themes: Access to participants; Relationships; Perceptions of research; Context for gatekeepers, Emotional impact, and Mechanisms to address challenges. The study has highlighted a gap in the literature con- cerning the number of students who experience issues with gatekeepers, and how this affects their ability to undertake their research, their emotional resilience, and their access to support. Postgraduate researchers utilised a number of supportive mechanisms including seeking advice, reflective practice, and persistence to help them overcome challenges faced. Guidance for researchers, supervisors and universities is proposed.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Student ; researcher ; recruitment; ; experiences; ; gatekeepers; ; postgraduate
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:34292
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Jul 2020 13:18
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:23


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