Staff at Department of Science Education – University of Copenhagen

A journey of negotiation and belonging: understanding students' transition to science and engineering in higher education

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The paper presents results from a longitudinal study of students’ decisions to enrol on a higher education science programme and their experiences of it. The aim is to give insights into students’ transition process and negotiation of identity. This is done by following a cohort of 38 students in a series of qualitative interviews during a 3-year period starting as they were about to finish upper secondary school. We find that the students’ choice of study is an ongoing process of meaning-making, which continues when the students enter higher education and continuously work on their identities to gain a sense of belonging to their science or engineering programme. The use of a narrative methodology provides understanding of choice of study as involving changes in future perspectives and in the interpretation of past experiences. Further, we gain access into how this meaning-making process over time reflects the students’ negotiations in terms of belonging to higher education and their coping strategies when their expectations of their new programme interact with their first-year experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalC S S E
Volume9
Pages (from-to)755-786
Number of pages32
ISSN1871-1502
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Published online October 2013

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