The Student Experience In Higher Education Education Essay

Table of contents


The cardinal factor in the appraisal of quality in higher instruction is the pupil experience. This is non restricted to the pupil experience in the schoolroom but to the entire pupil experience. ( Harvey et al.,1992, p. 1 ) . Increasing attending is being paid to the pupil experience at higher instruction establishments across the UK, both by establishments themselves and by the bureaus that fund them and back up them. This new focal point is driven partially by turning involvement in what pupils think about their experiences and a committedness to developing a more informed and nuanced apprehension of what the pupil experience agencies and what factors shape it. The cardinal implicit in driver is enhancement of the pupil experience, both as an terminal in itself, and as a agency to the terminal of deriving and keeping a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining pupils ( Chris, 2008 ).In this survey a phenomenological method was employed to research the single experiences as a postgraduate pupil in the University of Ulster.

Literature Review

Evaluation of what is going universally known as the “ pupil experience ” is one of the dominant subjects of higher instruction research at this clip. This term embraces the impression that larning does non merely take topographic point in the schoolroom and that pupils ‘ clip spent in higher instruction is about a whole scope of experiences ( City University, 2002 ).

All facets of pupils ‘ university experience have an impact on their acquisition experience ( City University, 2002 ).

Purdue University ( 2004 ) refer to the ‘Pillars Supporting the Entire Student Experience ‘ and Thompson ( 2000 ) composing in the Kansas State eCollegian stated that: The entire pupil experience encompasses learning and acquisition, course of study, pupil life, reding and mentoring. The University of Edinburgh ( 2004 ) besides refers to a broad set of pupil experiences in which it was stated that accomplishments are derived from the entire pupil experience whether academic, excess curricular or work experiences. More late nevertheless the focal point has shifted to the rating of the entire pupil experience, which would include issues such as the installations available within the establishment, relationships with the academic staff and fellow pupils, and attitudes towards the instruction manner offered by lectors and coachs. Increasingly, pupils ‘ attitudes and perceptual experiences towards the establishment as a whole are seen as cardinal issues in finding the entire pupil experience. ( Savani, 2003 )

The survey entails an person ‘s experience as a postgraduate pupil.


The survey, which was conducted as portion of an assignment of NUR816 faculty, aimed:
To research a fellow pupil ‘s experience while set abouting a graduate student survey.
To analyze the sort of job faced by a postgraduate pupil.
To set up whether postgraduate pupil bask their surveies all through the semesters without any job from place or work topographic point for those working.
To enable me to cognize whether they were able to get some rational accomplishments through their programme.

Research Questions/Objective

To research a fellow pupil ‘s experience while set abouting a graduate student survey, in footings of the challenges of such survey.
To find the impact of a graduate student survey on a pupil daily life.
The methodological analysis for probe was based on the purposes and aims set.

The research inquiry shall be answered by utilizing the phenomenology methodological attack alternatively of the descriptive anthropology and grounded theory. This methodological attack is chosen because the research subject is centred on the perceptual experiences and readings of the universe held by an person. The speech pattern within this position is on the individualism, even the singularity, of each individual ‘s set of perceptual experience which is located in a specific societal context ( Shepard et al., 1993 ).

Phenomenology evolved from Husserl ‘s philosophical enterprise to research the full significance of persons ‘ lived experience of a given phenomenon through contemplation on the world of their experiences ( Morse and Field, 1996; Koch, 1999; Jones and Borbasi, 2003 ; Racher, 2003 ). The research worker observes and efforts to construe the significance of the observations made ( Jones and Borbasi, 2003 ) . In understanding what is ‘real ‘ there is reading of the significance of people ‘s relationships with their life experiences

Phenomenology attack stands in blunt contrast to ethnography and grounded theory ( Julius and Chris, 2002, p.9 ). In particular, it takes a really different position of the relationship between experience and cognition. For rationalists, and for post-positivists, experience is an agency of accessing an nonsubjective world that lies outside the person who is sing it ( Julius and Chris, 2002, p.9 ).

In phenomenology, nevertheless, the universe as experienced by persons, or by a group of persons, is the existent universe. Social world is constructed by persons in the procedure of interacting within a peculiar context ( Anderson, 1991 ).

In add-on, phenomenology recognises the fact that societal phenomena are rooted in a specific context ( Julius and Chris,2002, p.10 ) .Similarly, phenomenology, trades chiefly with the ‘micro ‘ instead than the ‘macro ‘ characteristics of societal life ( Lassman,1974 ). Using this method enabled the single pupil to depict a lived experience of deriving ‘knowledge ‘ as a postgraduate pupil and pertaining to her daily life. Through following a post-positivist, phenomenological enquiry, the research worker aimed for objectiveness in roll uping and measuring informations. This involved actively recognizing and uncluttering the head of preexistent ideas, beliefs and values ( Holloway and Wheeler, 1996 ). This is combative, and non easy accomplishable. However, in this research such objectiveness was desirable, since the lead research worker was a co-worker to the interviewee.



The research was conducted with a fellow pupil from within the NUR 816 faculty category in the University of Ulster. Ethical blessing was obtained from the University of Ulster Ethics and administration Committees. Flying was in a site unconnected with the chief survey.

The methodological analysis was qualitative in design. In peculiar it drew on phenomenological rules which “ seek to understand, describe and interpret human behavior from the position of the individual or participants being studied ( Finlay, 1999 ) . The purpose of the interview was hence to derive an apprehension of the interviewee ‘s ain place in relation to her experience has a postgraduate pupil.

Data aggregation procedure

Design – Ethical and research administration Issues

Qualitative research is based on the premiss that in order to get cognition about people, we need to give them the chance to specify and depict their experiences as these were lived by themselves ( Polit and Hungler,1993 ). This attack allows the geographic expedition of worlds by worlds admiting the value of a holistic position and the worth of individualism and subjectiveness ( Chinn, 1985 ).

Nursing and phenomenology portion the same beliefs in sing people holistically as entities who create significances and in valuing them as alone individuals ( Omery, 1983; Taylor, 1994 ). Using a phenomenological attack nevertheless holds assorted troubles such as ‘method slurring ‘ ( Baker et al., 1992 ) and the acknowledgment of the research workers consequence upon the survey and the reading of the findings. The deficiency besides of defined guidelines high spots the issue of asperity ( Hallet, 1995 ). This stresses the demand for elaborate certification of the survey and the demand to integrate the cogency of the findings within the information analysis. However, the reading on any research has to be considered probationary instead than absolute ( Walters, 1995 ).

Sampling Procedure

Participant Numberss within phenomenological surveies are typically little, for illustration, less than 10 ( Morse and Field, 1996; Parahoo, 1997; Kleinman, 2004 ), and interviews are in-depth with much rich informations ( Whimpenny and Gass, 2000 ). The sample used for this survey was a convenience sample drawn from a mark population of NUR816 faculty category. A fellow pupil was approached and she agreed to take part. Participant was informed about the right to retreat from the survey at any clip and was assured that in written studies they would non be able to be identified as imposter names would be used. This attack was agreed by the moralss and research administration commission as being acceptable.

Data Aggregation Method


Contact with the fellow pupil was made by telephone with a follow-up participant information sheet, consent signifier given to her in category. A hebdomad was allowed from the telephone call until the clip agreed for interview, therefore giving clip for participants to read and discourse the information with others if they wished. Final consent was undertaken instantly anterior to interview. Participants were offered the school country that is a mall or talk room. She opted for the talk room ( Dashiff, 2001 ). Prior to the interview, the intent of the survey was discussed. This served to loosen up the interviewee and the interviewer ( Morse and Field, 1996 ).

The interview that lasted for about 30 proceedingss was audio – recorded and manus written and later transcribed verbatim ( Streubert and Carpenter, 1995 ). An un-structured interview usher was used ( see Appendix 4 ), although inquiries were asked in different ways to arouse all possible ideas from participants. Time for treatment was made after the interview. This was once more agreed as portion of ethical blessing for the work. Get downing the Interview ( Appendix 5 ).

As for the method of informations aggregation, single interview have been used. The intent of the phenomenological interview has been defined as an effort to derive penetration into the other individual worldview and to understand shared significances through active hearing ( Sorrell and Redmond 1995 ). However the pilot interview was non used in the concluding analysis of the informations.

Unstructured interviewing is described as “ automatic ” ( Hammerseley and Atkinson, 1993 ).In a big grade the precise subjects on which the interview will concentrate, and the manner in which it is conducted, emerge in the procedure of the interview, and are antiphonal to the perceptual experiences, concerns and precedences of the source. The control of the informations aggregation procedure was surrendered partly to the source ( fellow pupil ) ( Julius and Chris, 2002, p.54 ) . The unstructured interview is conducted harmonizing to an interview usher ( Arksey and Knight, 1999 ).

Subjects in an unstructured interview may be raised in different ways or in a different order

Since my purpose in this signifier of interview is to derive insight into a subject from the position of the source, the docket for the interview was non imposed by the interviewer, but was negotiated between interviewer and interviewee ( Jones, 1985 ).

Rubin and Rubin ( 1995 ) described such interviews as a “ guided conversation ”.

Data Analysis

The analytical procedure began during informations aggregation. Analysis of interviews was coincident with informations aggregation so that new subjects could be identified for inclusion in subsequent interviews. Data aggregation continued until impregnation occurred, whereby no new or relevant stuff emerged. The research worker made notes after the interview of cardinal points that arose in the conversation with the participant. These helped to clear up the emerging issues and allowed minor accommodations to be made to the interview agenda. The transcript was so read through carefully to place the perceptual experiences and attitudes of pupil toward the graduate student survey. The informations were so explored in relation to the available literature and checked against the research notes to guarantee that issues perceived as of import to the interviewee had been addressed. A bill of exchange transcript of the reappraisal was sent out to interviewee ask foring her remarks and leting for some minor accommodations to be made. Quotation marks from interview are given because they represent the positions or to foreground a specific point. Pseudonyms are used throughout the paper to maximize interviewee namelessness.

Data was analysed utilizing a model that is geared towards phenomenology methodological analysis of Colaizzi ‘s ( 1978 ) seven phase procedure, reflexiveness in informations aggregation and frequent re-analysis of informations as new subjects emerged ( Miles and Huberman,1994 ). This theoretical account of analysis Fosters transparence and cogency in the analytical procedure ( Mays and Pope,2000 ).

The analytic procedure of Colaizzis ( 1978 ) was modified to supply a more executable model for the analysis of the information. Firstly tape – recorded interview was played and re – played and written transcripts were read in order to get a ‘first feeling ‘. The really first rematch of the cassette took topographic point instantly after the interview, it was recorded and a transcript was kept individually for safety grounds. Additionally notes were written after the interview and during the first rematch to capture initial thoughts. Initial data bunch was achieved utilizing underscoring for the participant important statements. This enabled informations submergence and assisted an overview of the participant ‘s part to each bunch.

At phase two important statements were extracted from the individual transcript, which was after organized into bunch of subjects. Each subject was attempted to be conceptualized and contextualized ( Strauss and Corbin.1990, p.61 ) and notes were written for each identified subject to be discussed with the participant during proof. The following phase involved the readying of a descriptive text for the participant which included quotation marks from the interviews. At the proof phase participants were re-approached and alongside an explanatory note, the descriptive text was assessed. The participant to the full agreed with the written descriptions and the treatment of her experiences and he signed and retains a 2nd transcript of the proof text.

Formulated significances were devised but arranged into one grid to compare their relationship to the formulated significances as a whole. Colaizzi supports this stance to his procedure of analysis. He argues his method of analysis be ‘used flexibly and freely by the research worker, they can modify them in what of all time manner they sees fit ‘ ( Colaizzi, 1978, p.59 ). Further divergence arose from Colaizzi ( 1978 ) who acknowledged there will be repeat of experience and that repeats should be eliminated.

It is argued instead that by placing repeats, greater weight can be added to significance of the significance jointly for persons ( Hantikainen and Kappeli, 2000 ). To help participant in understanding the analysis of the information, and supply her with grounds that the response could act upon pattern, a grid sketching the cardinal findings was devised for her. The presentation to the participants of what Colaizzis ( 1978 ) calls the ‘exhaustive description ‘ instead than the concluding ‘essential construction ‘ of the phenomenon, was besides recommended by Holloway and Wheeler ( 1996 ), as it could be more easy recognizable by her because it has the possible to move as a precursor to arouse more information and remarks at this phase of the survey. Although cogency in qualitative research is multifaceted, it appears to be an advantage of using a method of analysis which incorporated proof by participants themselves. The concluding analysis of the phenomenon can be seen as the ‘product ‘ of a shared procedure between those who have experience it and the research worker ( Halarie, 2006 ).


The survey revealed a sequence of findings, which could be summarised under the undermentioned seven classs: All seven classs emerged from the participant descriptions, irrespective of the length of the interview

Aspiration in life
Challenges of being a graduate student pupil degree Celsius
Time direction vitamin
Positive and negative feelinge
Library usage degree Fahrenheit
Internet usage
Lecturers attitudes.

Each class will be explored and deductions for development discussed.

Aspiration in life: The pupil emphasised that the graduate student programme was an chance for her to rich greater tallness.

“ My end in life is to draw a bead on to make the extremum in my educational calling ”

Challenges of being a postgraduate pupil: Being admitted for the graduate student programme was the first challenge the pupil faced, followed by funding the programme, cost of adjustment in school, run intoing the class work deadline for entry, and plagiarism menace.

“ The adjustment I got was rather expensive in school ”.

“ Geting admitted gave me a challenge ”

“ I mean the support of the P.G surveies was non excessively easy ”.

“ I was so witting of the mentions quoted but am still afraid that I did non plagiarize ”.

“ haste through the coursework assignment, so as to run into the deadline for entry ”.

Time direction: The pupil usage most of the clip in the school country for go toing talks, making class work, and personal reading while the free talk yearss is used for parttime occupation.

“ I realised that I need to make a batch of personal reading “

“ My faculty clip besides gave me a good chance to prosecute in a portion clip work in a shop ” . Lecturers Attitudes: it was gathered from the pupil experience that the lectors were accessible and they help in work outing pupil academic problems. “ The lectors have ever been really helpful and accessible and unfastened to suggestions and unfavorable judgment ”.

Library usage: School Library was reportedly used to accomplish a batch of work through class work administration and easy cyberspace entree, run offing the assignment and printing relevant papers. It was so a good resource. “ I did non hold a resource to acquire a lap-top so I spend most of my clip in the school library ( LRC ) ”.

Internet usage: At interview, the pupil reported equal usage of the Internet at school, for email communicating, online resource from the lectors, and for a assortment of reasons. “ Most of our classs had online resource which could merely be assessed through the WebCT from the library portal ”.

Positive and negative feeling: There was the fiscal influence on the household, but a batch of accomplishments were acquired.

The probe confirms the utility of using a phenomenological method to the human side of research and to lend to the alleged “ studies-of-studies ” literature, and to the turning shared experiential civilization in research. It could assist decrease the clasp of the positive paradigm in the survey and to happen a cardinal topographic point for the human side of research, alternatively of concealment or disregarding this of import aspect of research.

Finally, this survey was exploratory in nature and the consequences may be limited to the respondent who participated in the probe, merely. Therefore, merely general suggestions for future research can be offered. One possibility is to research the experiences of pupil who have non received didactic direction on school life, but who have to put to death graduate student survey. Another possibility is to depict the experiences of pupils who failed to finish their surveies successfully.


Postgraduate Student experience could be summarized into a deliberate and necessary attempt to derive credence into an organized and defined educational scene. The findings illustrate the ‘lived experience ‘ of a postgraduate pupil about her surveies, the cognition respondents have about her school, and some consideration about duty for cognition and why perusal may be hard. An overruling subject throughout the work is related to dedication to classwork and support. Key concerns included:

The support of a postgraduate class.
Entree to resources and
Proper clip direction

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