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Lonely, homesick and struggling: undergraduate students and intention to quit university

Boddy, C ORCID: 0000-0003-3266-4066 2020 , 'Lonely, homesick and struggling: undergraduate students and intention to quit university' , Quality Assurance in Education , doi: 10.1108/QAE-05-2020-0056.

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Purpose: This paper outlines a variety of the research on student attrition and recognisessome of the sensitivities that may be involved for some students in dealing with dropping outof university. The paper claims that because of these sensibilities, some student’s responsesto direct questions about the reasons for attrition may be biased by social desirability. An aimof this research was therefore to get beyond social desirability bias, to examine a fuller rangeof reasons for student retention and attrition.Design/Methodology: In an exploratory investigation, this research study utilises aprojective technique which helps to circumvent the conscious defences of respondents. Theprojective technique is based on the ‘thematic apperception test’ and uses a ‘bubble drawing’to elicit emotional and more socially undesirable responses.Findings: All first-year students appear to consider leaving university and emotionalconsiderations involving loneliness and homesickness are much more prominent than mostquantitative studies acknowledge. For example, in this research, social concerns are twice asprominent as financial concerns, whereas in past survey research financial concerns havebeen identified as most prominent.Practical Implications: To retain students, universities need to provide new students withreal care and support, especially in their first few weeks at university. To study retentioncomprehensively, researchers need to go beyond the confines of positivist research.Originality: This is the first study that uses a projective technique to investigate studentretention and attrition. By going beyond a merely positivist approach to research, a fuller,deeper and more complete understanding of the wide extent and profound nature of theemotional issues involved in student attrition and retention is gained.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Boddy, C
Keywords: student retention, intention to quit, projective techniques, student attrition
Journal or Publication Title: Quality Assurance in Education
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN: 0968-4883
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/QAE-05-2020-0056
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited

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