The relationship between higher education, emotion and gender: a qualitative study using text and interviews

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My own ‘naturalistic observation’ was pertinent to the genesis of this research project, which investigated mature students' emotions within higher education. I have been involved for many years in the kind of classroom environment where I have observed that many female mature students lack confidence in their academic ability, something that is often attributed to repeated experiences of difficulties in understanding and obeying the rigorous and unfamiliar bureaucratic environment of higher education. Students studying full-time on the Foundation Degree in Childhood programme with which I was involved often combined work and family responsibilities with their studies, and it was therefore not surprising that a large number of such students have heightened emotional responses to their personal situations, often to the detriment of their academic studies. Mature female students frequently questioned their own academic ability, seeking solutions to how to balance their personal and work/employment-related commitments with their academic requirements. It is these students on whom this research project has focused, which investigated the place, the nature and the effects of female mature students' emotion in higher education. To investigate this phenomenon, a general qualitative inquiry was adopted. In practical terms, this involved using qualitative interviews and reflective tasks (text) as research instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Specialist publicationSAGE Research Methods Cases
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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