Samantha Macrae, student and researcher, University of Glasgow
A qualitative study into the challenges faced by estranged students in Scotland in terms of their student experience, in the areas of finances, accommodation and emotional wellbeing. Key policy recommendations will be made to alleviate such challenges for future students and ensure that lack of family capital is not a barrier to higher education. This research stems from an inside understanding of estrangement and the challenges faced by estranged students, with personal experiences being discussed in relation to this research. This research was carried out in fulfilment of MA (SocSci) Social and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow.
Robert Zivtins, Imperial College London
This presentation revisits the concept of interview rapport in the context of outreach evaluation. I make the case for persevering with students who initially appear disengaged when using qualitative research methods.
Based on my experiences interviewing 40 students from a socio-economically deprived London school (27.2% pupil premium, national average: 13.6%), during their visit to a high-tariff HEI, I present two characterisations of students. 1) ‘charismatic enthusiasts’ who were engaged with both the outreach session and data collection process and 2) ‘disengaged cynics’ who were detached from the session and were initially disinclined to give extended answers during interviews.
While it might be tempting to rely on charismatic students for ease of data collection and frame ‘disengaged’ students as problematic for evaluation, the disengaged cynics could often be ‘won over’ with rapport building.
When compared to other shallow data collection methods (e.g. free text boxes in questionnaires), interviews may require greater sampling effort, yet can yield rich datasets which improves our understanding of widening participation interventions.