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Title: A critical realist exploration of the comparative impact on successful first generation and non-first generation graduates of a programme of change aimed at enhancing employability
Author: Cashian, Paul S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 390X
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2014
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The research presented in this thesis relates to an aspect my practice setting as an Associate Dean in a large and diverse Faculty in a post-92 University. The issue investigated relates to the contribution made by a series of employability enhancements, introduced as part of a curriculum review in 2005-06, to a four year upward trend in the Faculty’s Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) statistics. The enhancements included a number of initiatives at both University and Faculty level. However of particular concern at Faculty level was the growing evidence in the literature of the specific needs of first generation students, who constitute a significant proportion of the Faculty’s students. Therefore some of the enhancement initiatives introduced had these students particularly in mind. However although an exploration of the effectiveness of the employability enhancements provides the practice context the main contribution of the research arises from the methodology adopted. The research takes an overtly critical realist view and argues that, for managers looking to make practice enhancements, the perspective provides a much richer basis than more traditional outcome based approaches. The method used was to develop from previous research an employability social structure and then explore, through semi-structured interviews, the experiences of ten ‘successful’ graduates. Through the process of deconstruction and reconstruction the data was explored from a number of angles to address the main research objectives. However what is also demonstrated is how, by the development of a critical realist approach, I am able to identify specific practice improvements which are both evidence-based and contextually relevant. From a broader view critical realism offers a pluralist approach to research which is problem-led in the sense that you commence with an issue or problem and work down to a supporting discourse and research method. The argument is made that this is also a particularly used approach for practice-based research.
Supervisor: Burke, Penny Jane ; Thorpe, Anthony ; Lim, Lynn L. L. K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available