Factors influencing academic and employment outcomes: a multiphase Q-methodology study

PhD Thesis

Fischer, I. 2019. Factors influencing academic and employment outcomes: a multiphase Q-methodology study. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
AuthorsFischer, I.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDegree of Doctor of Education

This thesis investigates the perceptions of barriers and enablers impacting academic and employment outcomes of students of Generation Z. It is a topic of multi-disciplinary importance spanning the fields of education, business and management, psychology and sociology. It is framed within a changing UK Higher Education landscape including increased internationalisation. This study adopts Q-methodology, a mixed-methods study that quantitatively evaluates qualitative viewpoints. Q-methodology is extended by performing additional analyses at the intersection of gender, ethnicity, and nationality. A total of 304 students, 44 non-higher-education employees and 8 faculty members, voiced their opinions to explain gaps in student attainment. Moreover, degree results from 2,024 students who graduated between July 2016 and July 2019 from one single UK business school, were evaluated. Findings of a self-reported lack of confidence of female students, linked partly to a perceived lack of verbal communication skills, suggest that one of the consequences of a lack of confidence might be that female students work harder than their male counterparts to compensate, resulting in a higher mean average grade. By doing so, they tend not to take advantage of more longterm networking and career opportunities, and also feel more stressed, which, in turn, further diminishes self-confidence. Tackling the confidence and verbal communication gap is currently deprioritised by faculty, who focus on knowledge transmission as part of their teaching. Suggestions are made that aim to raise awareness of more informed and nuanced teaching practices that embed verbal communication skills, to develop student agency independent of gender. By keeping the first part of each research phase in line with traditional Q-methodology, and by then adding accessible R-type analyses, it was possible to reveal results that aim to raise awareness for more audiencecentric teaching and research practices across Q and non-Q communities.

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Deposited11 Feb 2020
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