Using Visual and Participatory Research Methods to Describe Processes of Educational Resilience in Returners to Education

Prof Doc Thesis

Borrett, E. 2019. Using Visual and Participatory Research Methods to Describe Processes of Educational Resilience in Returners to Education. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsBorrett, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Around 20,000 people per year return to education via HE Access qualifications. For many, this offers the opportunity to enter university and unlock the potential for social mobility. This study aimed to identify the processes leading to educational resilience which contributed to a successful return to education for this group. Twenty students from two Social Mobility Cold Spots (SMCSp) in the East of England acted as co-researchers. The research utilised a participatory method. Participation in the research included refining research questions, collecting and analysing data. Coresearchers gave their views visually through producing collages which described factors throughout the lifespan facilitating a return to education.
Co-researchers were taught how to conduct a thematic analysis which they completed. The thematic maps produced demonstrated how these factors interacted throughout their lifespan to form educational resilience processes. Co-researchers identified 11 master themes; these were synthesised into three major processes of educational resilience in this group of returners to education: Support, connectedness and adversarial growth gained through reflection. Co-researchers described transformative change which led to a return to education and the motivation to succeed. The participatory and visual approach to the study highlighted a number of
advantages and challenges for use. A critique of the methodology is provided alongside suggestions for improvement and critical reflections for other psychologists considering employing participatory research. The findings from this study suggest the potential for development of a new narrative tool. Several implications are proposed which include how EPs and other stakeholders can support returners to education after taking a break, the importance of work experience and relationships, the role of the EP working with FE and ensuring learners feel supported in high school.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online24 Jul 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2020
SubmittedApr 2019
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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