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Title: Parents' experiences of their child's Higher Education choice process
Author: Haywood, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 9951
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis considers a critical aspect of marketing: choice and decision-making in a context experiencing change and marketisation – HE. Its aim is to explore the HE choice process from parents’ perspective, at a time of increasing parental involvement. Much of the literature on choice and decision-making takes a quantitative approach with an underlying assumption that choices are rational. Contrastingly, there is a body of literature which looks at under-represented groups. My study responds to this by adopting an interpretivist approach, informed by aspects of phenomenology, which captures the accounts of 16 parents’ lived experiences of this choice process and of the meanings that they attribute to them. It examines their experiences holistically, recognising the situated and extended nature of this process and noting that it is a choice made with and for someone else. It also considers parents’ different approaches to involvement and the various roles they play. Participants experienced this process as parents, not as consumers. Choice in an HE context is about relationships and relationship maintenance. Participants described working hard to avoid conflict and trying to be persuasive and occasions when they worked as a team with their child. This relationship also often influenced the type and degree of involvement they had. Working with their child generated a range of emotions. This relational aspect is missing from much of the marketing literature which privileges individual choice. It matters because not only are many choices intra-relational, but also in the context of HE, assumptions are made that this choice is ‘rational’ and approached from a consumer perspective and that providing more information will result in ‘better’ choices. However, this is a highly complex experience which is all about the relationship at a crucial phase, resulting in parents working hard to maintain it, including by being prepared to compromise.
Supervisor: Dyke, Martin ; Brockmann, Michaela Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available