Students' narrative constructions as a lens for understanding students' coping with the gap between expectancies and experiences when entering higher education
This article shows how the application of narrative methodology brings new insights into understanding students' choices and their experiences upon entering a higher education programme. The point of departure is a study of a cohort of 38 students followed over a three-year period from when they were about to finish upper-secondary school in 2009 and into higher education. Firstly, the use of a narrative methodology gives access to understanding the students' choice of study as a continuous process of meaning making that involves both changes in perspectives concerning future plans and in interpretation of past experiences. This process continues when the students' expectations of their new programme interact with their first-year experiences, and they continuously work on their identities in order to feel they belong to their higher education programme. Secondly, by using this methodology the authors gain access to how this meaning-making process through a three year period of time reflects the students’ negotiations of belonging to their higher education study programme. Finally, the methodology highlights the complexity of the students' choices, as well as the factors and contexts influencing these choices.
European Educational Research Journal, 2013, Vol 12, Issue 3, p. 310-319