Academic Master


Qualitative Exploration of the Experience of Becoming a University Student

Denzin and Lincoln (1994) characterize qualitative research: Qualitative research is multi-strategy in center, including an interpretive, naturalistic way to deal with its topic. This implies qualitative researchers ponder things in their normal settings, endeavoring to comprehend or translate marvels regarding the implications individuals convey to them. Qualitative research includes the examined utilize and gathering of an assortment of experimental materials contextual analysis, individual experience, thoughtful, biography meet, observational, verifiable, interactional, and visual writings that depict normal and tricky minutes and importance in people’s lives.

Cresswell (1994) characterizes it as: Qualitative research is a request procedure of understanding in view of unmistakable methodological conventions of request that investigate a social or human issue. The researcher fabricates an intricate, all encompassing picture, breaks down words, reports point by point perspectives of witnesses, and leads the examination in a characteristic setting.

I picked thematic analysis (Meier, Boivin, and Meier, 2006) for this research examine as I am will consider the lived encounters of the understudies. Thematic analysis has been broadly utilized as an inexactly characterized research technique in the sociologies. There are late endeavors to create it all the more deliberately and improve its power for brain science, psychotherapy and guiding research. With couple of special cases the strategy is connected to exact data picked up from meeting research members transposed to talk with transcripts (Braun and Clarke, 2006; Joffe, 2012; McLeod, 2011; Meier et al., 2006; Pollio and Ursiak, 2006; Rennie, 2012; Ward, House, and Hamer, 2009).

For this investigation, I am adjusting this technique to break down information assembled from the semi-organized meetings. Braun and Clarke (2006) gave clear standards and pragmatic advances associated with the thematic analysis. They commended the technique as “adaptable” yet “methodologically stable” on the off chance that it is connected vigorously (2006, p. 78).This novel examination concentrated on the individual encounters of the college understudies and the impact of being college understudy on their lives.


Research question

The study explored the effect of being university student on the life of students and their experiences as the student.

Description of sample

The sample for the study was collected from the University of East London. The first participant was Roima who is British Bangladeshi, female, 20-years-old, currently in the second year of BSC Psychology at University of East London (UEL). The second participant was Nayim who is Arab British, male, 23-years-old, currently in the Third year of LLB (Hons) law at Queen Mary University.

Description of data collection Method

Data were collected by using semi-structured face to face interview from Roima Khanom and Nayim Khan. It was conducted in the university library. Both the participants were contacted through telephonic conversation and time was fixed with them for the interview.

Analytic procedure

Thematic analysis was used in the research project. The interviews were transcribed in a document file. Vivo coding was used as reading the transcripts again and again was done to avoid missing any important theme or pattern. For example, ambitious, personal goals, cultural differences etc.

Ethical considerations

Brief information of the research was provided to the participants and they were asked to sign a consent form before conducting the interview. Confidentiality of data was ensured. It was ensured that data will be used only for research purpose.


Labeling the chunk in the transcription helped in summarizing the data. I arranged the codes to make a sense of these codes. Then again I refined these codes; for example, merge the codes with similar means or outcomes. Than themes were established from the codes after coding has completed. I found the difference between the expectations from the university and the reality which both interviewees have faced, their personal goals and ambitions etc. I found the story of their lived experiences about the university life and elements which has the effect on their lives with regards to their educational achievements. Firstly I found out the chunks of importance and then I coded them. After coding, I rearrange the codes to make them build a proper sense and this sense and flow making codes are then converted into themes by understanding what they were depicting.

Data analysis

From the transcribed interviews, after rigorous readings, three major themes were found which were cultural aspects, motivational factors and experiences of dissatisfaction.

As it is a fact that culture has a specific, major and important effect on the upbringing of individuals. Some people have the tendencies to move along the cultural aspects and some feel better to leave the cultural aspects and move along the majority of the world. Same effects were found in the interviewees of the study. But one case was from the category of moving along the cultural aspects and other was from the category of moving with the world while leaving the cultural aspects. The first interviewee was from Bangladesh and she reported that in her culture, girls are not educated and they spend their life on husband’s income. But she told that her father wanted her to study and compete with the world as education is necessary for survival. That is why she was studying.

umm…in my culture it is traditional that girls get married and become a housewife and not pursue a career but my parents didn’t want that for their kids so they encouraged us to… to work hard and go study until we are happy with ourselves and have achieved what we want.

She reported no change in her life related to her family time as she uses to go to university without any gap in education.

The second interviewee was a male student and he is from the category of moving with the cultural aspects. He reported that he belongs to an educated family where he has to study and do the job as, without this, there is no respect for a male. It is necessary for him to achieve a specific level of education and a proper job to be respectful in the society and among family. That is the main reason for his study. As he said:

In my culture a degree is expected almost compulsory, it’s seen as a rite of passage into adulthood and the rest of your life. My family and my parents expected me to go to university, get a good grade and find myself a good job after; in hindsight, an apprenticeship may have been ideal.

Motivational factor is the second theme of this research. There are many motivational factors which help a person to achieve this goal or goals in life. In student life, the major motivational aspects of being students are studying together, meet friends, hang out with friends, receiving knowledge-based learning etc. As a student, the first interviewee reported that she is motivated because she wants to compete with the world and wanted to make her achieve a respectful place in the society. She also reported that her family wanted her to not depend on others for her needs. As education is the necessary part of the respectful and good life, it motivated her to study. From this, it can assume that she is motivated to achieve her goals of respectful life and a healthy source of income which will give her a strong place in the society. She wants to be a positive addition to the society as she is realizing the value of being educated.

In this day and age, it’s hard to get anywhere without the further education.

Furthermore, she needs graduation pictures too. But the male interviewee had the different viewpoint that he has to complete his degree to become a solicitor. For this achievement, he has to pass specific degree and his intention to achieve his degree were so strong. He seems so serious about his future and had a proper planning to achieve his future expectations. The reason for selection of the university study was due to these motivational factors.

so…I want to become a solicitor and the only direct way of doing that is a degree as in order to qualify I require a degree and then a postgrad qualification called the LPC. Through university, I expected to gain lots of opportunities for work experience, unique insight into the legal field through lecturers as I enjoy learning and doing things to better my chances of a successful career

The third and the last theme was dissatisfaction. Here dissatisfaction is related to the experiences in admitting in universities they were studying in at the time of interview. There were many factors found in poor administration, late information circulation of extra-curricular activities participation, exams related difficulties etc.

It was reported by the interviewees that university life is harder than expected as more coursework and learning was expected but focus on exams is more than learning and teaching. It was also found that classmates were of different age groups which are also not expected. It affected the socialization of the classmates. Socialization among the classmates is a necessary element to create a proper learning environment. But as a university student, the interviewee did not found socialization which made her dissatisfied.

I just thought that it’ll be like the sixth form but on a much larger scale. I expected to see a lot of people my age there’s a lot of diversity in our course

The male interviewee said the communication from the university administration related to different activities was not appropriate and late intimation is a cause of not participating in the activities. The focus is the students of the first semester, not the second one which causes dissatisfaction among students as they feel that they are not important.

The environment wasn’t as engaging as I initially expected, I assumed there’d be more support from the beginning from lecturers and tutors as such but it trailed off after the second semester.

Level of dissatisfaction is different for both the interviewees as one is focusing the studies as the element of dissatisfaction and the other is pointing out the management issues related to extra-curricular activities intimations. It is also observed that level of dissatisfaction among male interviewee is quite different from the female interviewee.


In this research, the focus is on the cultural aspects which affect the behavior of the people. Females of Asia are suppressed at different levels as the society of Asia is male dominating society. So the source of motivation for her is to get the education as she understood her value without education at every level of her life. That is why she is feeling dissatisfaction related to the studies as her focus is to have a degree and become a working part of the society.

In contrast to the male interviewee, who also belongs to the Middle East and Asian culture, did not have identity issues. He just wants to get the degree as his family like him to have a specific and respectful source of earning in which he grows and work well. His culture is also affecting on his level of dissatisfaction as not being intimate timely of extra-curricular activities was his area of concern. He needs attention from the university administration more than the female interviewee. It was also noticed that female interviewee was having issues related to the learning outcomes and frequent exams but she is still not dissatisfied with the university management.

From the themes emerged and discussed above, it was concluded that students of the university have the different cultural background which makes them think and perceive things differently and these aspects affect them related to their socialization and learning. These cultural aspects also motivate the students to achieve their goals and objective as well as make them dissatisfied with being the part of that specific university. This further develops the complaining behaviour among the university students. In university students, the complaining behaviour is not a good learning as it remains with them for the lifetime. The experience of being university student is good for both the participants as they were highly motivated to achieve their goals which will be helping them in the future life.

The findings of the study are not generalizable as it includes the experiences of just two interviewees.


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