Social influence on students' experiences of transition into postgraduate study

Sitch, Matthew ORCID: 0000-0001-6521-7102 and Lowry, Ruth G (2019) Social influence on students' experiences of transition into postgraduate study. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 15 (1).

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Introduction Students’ social relationships play an important role in their experiences of educational transition, with some researchers reporting that postgraduate students often feel a lack of support during their transition. The current study examined how students’ social relationships influence their experiences of transition into taught postgraduate study in the Sport and Exercise Sciences. Method A mixed methods approach was adopted to explore 12 students’ (M age 25±9.54; 4 female, 8 male) social relationships and the perceived influence of these relations on educational transition. A personal network analysis was used to structure an interview which was analysed using a thematic content analysis. Results Five sources of social influence were identified, including social support, social comparison, gate keeper, accommodation of relationships, and, coping with the network. These themes were evidenced and discussed with reference to participants’ network structural features such as tie strength and alter centrality. Discussion The combination of both network structure and function makes a novel contribution to literature by highlighting aspects of participants’ social network in context to their experiences of transition. Results are discussed in relation to social network theory and models of influence. Recommendations for coordinators of Masters programmes are also offered relating to the provision, development and maintenance of supportive relationships.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Postgraduate transition; personal network; social support; social relationships; education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 10:46
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:04

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