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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ashwin, P., Abbas, A. and McLean, M. (2016), Conceptualising transformative undergraduate experiences: A phenomenographic exploration of students’ personal projects. Br Educ Res J, 42: 962–977. doi:10.1002/berj.3244 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/berj.3244/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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Conceptualising transformative undergraduate experiences: a phenomenographic exploration of students’ personal projects

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>British Educational Research Journal
Issue number6
Volume42
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)962-977
Publication statusPublished
Early online date12/09/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Existing ways of understanding the transformative potential of students’ undergraduate experiences either focus solely on the formal educational elements of these experiences or present an overly static picture of students’ intentions in engaging in higher education. In this article we argue that the notion of ‘personal project’ offers a more flexible way of understanding what students are trying to gain from being at university. Based on a phenomenographic analysis of interviews with 31 students over the three years of their degrees, we examine how sociology students’ accounts of their personal projects develop over the three years of their degree programmes and how these relate to their accounts of their integration into their institutions and the development of their intellectual engagement with their discipline. We argue that students’ accounts of their personal projects are relatively stable over the course of their degrees but do not appear to shape the development of their intellectual engagement with their degree programme. What appears to be more significant is whether or not students understand their time at university as an educational experience. Based on this, we argue that the transformative elements of an undergraduate education lie in students developing their personal projects and intellectual engagement through the educational context that is offered at university.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ashwin, P., Abbas, A. and McLean, M. (2016), Conceptualising transformative undergraduate experiences: A phenomenographic exploration of students’ personal projects. Br Educ Res J, 42: 962–977. doi:10.1002/berj.3244 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/berj.3244/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.