- Talking about
- Understanding the benefits of widening participation in Higher Education
This project seeks to deepen understanding of the benefits of widening participation in Higher Education using case studies of LLC students. Specifically, it aims to identify the impacts of university study by considering students’ personal and social outcomes before and during their studies and after graduation (such as academic and cognitive skills, attitudes and values, psychosocial benefits, and career, economic and quality of life outcomes).
The project started in 2016 and adopted a longitudinal qualitative approach that aims to ‘follow’ participants across the trajectory of their studies, from pre-entry to one year post-graduation.
Overall, the project has recruited and retained 17 participants (12 female, 5 male, ranging from 20-56 years of age) – with the final interviews completed in 2021.
Research methods included two semi-structured interviews with each participant per year, and a life map activity completed in the first research encounter which was revisited in the last interview with each participant.
Preliminary findings have started to highlight the wide range of benefits (beyond economic outcomes) that students experience, starting early on in their learning journeys.