Exploring positive experiences of engagement amongst Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) university students: An interpretative phenomenological analysis
Journal of Happiness and Health,
Vol. 3 No. 1 (2023),
10 April 2023
The Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) university student attainment gap shows little sign of improving in the official statistics. The research into engagement has been primarily quantitative, showing that attainment is strongly linked to engagement. However, there is relatively little qualitative research on how students experience engagement. This study therefore takes a qualitative approach, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to bring to life and make sense of the multi-faceted “lived experiences” of positive engagement of six BAME students at a Business School in London. IPA analysis is based on the double hermeneutic, or meaning-making, of both the participant and the researcher and is built rigorously from the bottom up, focusing idiographically on each participant in turn. This includes a detailed examination of the use of language, before moving onto the development of whole-sample, super-ordinate themes. Six super-ordinate themes were identified in this study: “Thriving with the support of positive relationships”, “On a journey of personal growth”, “Feeling at ease in the environment”, “Investing in the university experience to get the most out of it”, “Enjoying the experience of intellectual stimulation and success” and “Driven by ambition and passion”. The study supports key dimensions in the literature around belonging, connectedness and positive affirmation, whilst making contributions to the literature regarding the importance of meaning, growth mindset and self-actualisation. By depicting and interpreting their “lived experiences”, this study helps us gain a better understanding of what engagement can look like for BAME university students and the factors that can help drive it.
- BAME, student engagement, student experience, belonging, growth mindset, self-actualisation
How to Cite
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