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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Academic Persistence in Further Education: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of Students who have Considered Withdrawal
Author(s): McIntosh, Nicola
Supervisor(s): Brosnan, Kevin
Galloway, Sarah
Keywords: Persistence
Further Education
Higher Education
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2021
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Academic persistence is a common phenomenon within all areas of education. Retention statistics consistently draw our attention to withdrawal and completion rates in universities and colleges, yet the persistence demonstrated by our students is seldom acknowledged. Research has proposed many underlying reasons for students’ withdrawal or completion and suggests various measures institutions can implement to reduce withdrawal and increase completion. Research pays less attention to academic persistence as a phenomenon, and there is currently relatively little research about the lived experiences of those who have considered withdrawal but persisted with their studies. Research tends to focus on Higher Education, yet the phenomenon is equally prevalent in Further Education. Further Education accounted for almost a fifth of the 244,714 full-time students enrolled in Scotland in 2019/20 (HESA 2021; SFC 2021a). Its underrepresentation in the research makes it a valuable yet untapped field of study. This thesis investigates the lived experiences of Further Education students in Scotland, focusing on those who have considered withdrawal but persisted with their studies, to establish and present new knowledge about the academic persistence phenomenon. The thesis takes a phenomenological approach. It uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to foreground the lived experiences of 11 participants from five campuses of Scottish Colleges. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with each participant were recorded, transcribed, and analysed in detail to develop four key themes: ‘a disrupted sense of self’, ‘the push and pull of motivation’, ‘the ambiguity of agency’, and ‘emotions and coping while considering withdrawal’. Each theme revealed psychological, sociological, and organisational elements, demonstrating the complexity of the lived experience and how a multi-dimensional approach is crucial to the study of academic persistence.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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