A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH PROJECT INVESTIGATING THE SOCIO-CULTURAL AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES OF WORKING-CLASS STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITY IN EDINBURGH
This research takes places in a society that widening participation is being pushed for non-traditional students to attend university. This research investigates the socio-cultural and learning experience of working-class students and middle-class students at university. This study adopts predominately a qualitative phenomenological investigative approach, utilising qualitative techniques of reflexivity, and semi-structured interviews in order to gain a rich and detailed account of the working-class and middle-class student experiences once at university. The study employed a questionnaire initially primarily to identify students for follow-up interviews. Six participants were recruited through the questionnaire for the interviewing process, following the interviews taking place, thematic analysis was carried out to identify the main themes regarding the detailed responses received during the interview process. The working-class students demonstrated a strong academic ability, coped well with their studies despite thinking they would not. Socially, the working-class students were not very involved with any aspect of the universities social facilities and societies. Culturally, the working-class were at a disadvantage, with the middle-class being pre-disposed to the institutes habitus whereas the working-class, they struggled at first with the social networks and navigating around the institution.