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Why do students miss lectures?: An exploratory study of a faculty at a post 1992 university

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Jim Keane
Publication date2007
Number of pages197
Awarding Institution
Award date28/02/2007
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A large number of factors are known to be influential on student absenteeism, but
little work has been undertaken into understanding this behaviour at a more
conceptualised level. In the UK, it appears that only one small scale study has
been undertaken into reasons for absenteeism specifically from lectures, despite
the growing concerns about this behaviour. This thesis attempts to both improve
understanding of why students miss lectures in a Faculty at a post 1992
university, and to explain this behaviour in a more conceptualised way. Nine
attributions categorised using three headings: 'student', `lecture' and `context' are
first proposed from which three broad constructs are derived that, it is argued,
give meaning to the experience of missing lectures for many students in the
Faculty. The three constructs are disinterest, disquiet, and disengagement.
Disinterest is about an approach to study and learning in the context of missing
lectures and is understood as the 'Can't be bothered' attitude to attending
lectures; disquiet is about the affective meaning of students missing lectures and
is a 'Don't like it! response to the lecture experience; and disengagement is a
rational assessment of lectures as having a low expected gain to the student as a
'What's the point? ' deduction in relation to attending lectures. It is possible that
these three constructs allow for a reconstruction of the empirical data within a
holistic framework interpreting the behaviour of missing lectures from either an
etiological perspective, or from an individual psychoanalytical perspective. Low
immediacy, instrumentalism, expectations, isolation, discomfort and goal
ambiguity, are argued to be the important influences on disinterest, disquiet and
disengagement. This thesis presents empirical evidence supporting disinterest,
disquiet and disengagement as important constructs in the student's attendance
behaviour, and considers how these constructs might be used to guide future
research. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the issues for the Faculty
raised by the research.