Exploring Belonging through Qualitative Research
Jessica Davison supervised by Alison Voice
About the student researcher
I’m a Psychology student going into the fourth year of my degree. My research is particularly interesting to me due to my enthusiasm to work with qualitative data. As a first generation student and member of the plus programme, it is important to me that everyone has the access to the resources that encourage feeling included and settled in at university, especially when university transitioned to being online.
For most of my time on this project, I thematically analysed survey responses from the 2020-2021 student cohort using a mix of NVivo and manual coding. This survey was answered three times during the academic year. I generated themes based on the commonalities between answers, in order to observe what encourages belonging in students, what hinders belonging in students and what students want more of in their university experience. I also transcribed staff interviews hosted by my project leader, Alison Voice, and selected key information for promoting belonging within each school that was interviewed. I conducted a miniature literature review, where I reviewed past research on exploring belonging, which helped to build patterns of findings between past research and our research, along with suggestions on how to adjust online learning to promote belonging and engagement.