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Sandra Flynn

Research student

Sandra Flynn

Lancaster University

County South



Research overview

Research interests:

  • Older adults and digital skills
  • Digital literacies
  • Lifelong learning
  • Intergenerational learning
  • Generational intelligence
  • Social capital
  • Quality of later life

Thesis Title

Working title: Ireland and the lifelong learning curve: the intergenerational contribution to digital literacy for life.

Thesis Outline

Proposal abstract:

The research proposal for my thesis describes an exploratory study, to examine the contribution of intergenerational relationships to informal and non-formal lifelong learning practices of older adults in Ireland. The overarching research aim considers how and the extent to which intergenerational relationships can support the development of digital literacy skills amongst older adults. It offers a proposition that younger adults can support older adults to develop and maintain digital literacy skills and thus contribute to quality of life in later years. The initial literature review examines selected key elements that are interrelated within the focus area of this study with a view to identifying gaps in the literature. The research design for this qualitative study follows the principles of an interpretivist approach, underpinned by a pragmatist epistemology. The selected methodology is a multi-method qualitative case study (Creswell, 2014) designed to inform the research questions with data from two bounded cases - onliners (those who are digitally connected) and offliners (those who are not), terms offered by Seifert and Schelling (2016, 2018) to describe these two cohorts. A purposive sample of participants will be recruited through participants from a previous study I conducted, a variety of active retired community groups in Ireland and members of my neighbourhood community. My intention is that the study findings will contribute to the intergenerational learning (IGL) body of knowledge undertaken by Boström, Schmidt-Hertha and others and at a societal level, to the quality of life and successful ageing of older adults. The study expects to find that support for IGL is not available to all. The study is significant since the intersection between intergenerational relationships and non-formal and informal modes of lifelong learning in Ireland has yet to be fully explored.

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