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Title: The experience of school belonging : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Gardner, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 576X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explored the lived experience of 'belongingness' with three boys identified with persistent literacy difficulties in mainstream education. Belongingness has been described as a fundamental human need (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), and this research takes a multiple perspective on the construct. Belongingness in school has been linked to many positive psychological and academic outcomes (Furrer & Skinner, 2003; Osterman, 2000), and also to many negative psychological, academic, and behavioural outcomes (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Lee & Breen, 2007; Sargent et al. 2002). Thus a strong sense of belongingness may be especially important for pupils with literacy difficulties (Solomon et al. 1997). This study addressed the gap in the empirical research field, seeking to understand the 'lived experience' of belongingness in school. Data was collected from three semi-structured interviews and discussion during the drawing tasks, and the findings were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) (Smith, 1996) Five super-ordinate themes were identified along with accompanying sub-themes; 1. 'interpersonal relationships', 2. 'teacher practices', 3. 'emotional equilibrium', 4. 'physical illness', and 5. 'self-exclusion and disengagement'. Descriptions are presented with corresponding subordinate themes. Physical illness emerged as an unexpected master theme, and the 'importance of personal leisure time' as a sub-theme to the 'emotional equilibrium' master theme, both as yet unexplored in the belongingness domain. Although the boys' experiences of belongingness had similarities, there were also very clear differences in their accounts. These results are discussed with relevance to previous literature, and the epistemological stance of the study. The implications are discussed and recommendations for researchers and professionals in the education field are outlined. An action plan for the site school is provided. The study provided a valuable insight into the personal experience of belonging, and makes an original contribution to the body of knowledge in this area.
Supervisor: Corcoran, Timothy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available