Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Higher Education & Civil Society

Work Package 2.1

Funder: ESRC

Start date: April 2015

End date: March 2017

Research team

Gareth Rees and Chris Taylor (Cardiff University)

Overview

This project will explore the relationships between participation in higher education and engagement in civil society, especially at the local level. Do university graduates play a distinctive role in the institutions of civil society? More specifically, it will examine the extent to which the institutional shift from an elite to a mass system of higher education has affected the roles that graduates play in civil society. It will also analyse the extent to which distinctive national (or more local) patterns in these relationships can be distinguished in the constituent countries of the UK.

The project will adopt an explicitly mixed methods approach, using statistical modelling of the BHPS/Understanding Society, as well as interviews with university alumni.  

The project requires a comparative, longitudinal design. It will involve comparing the character of participation in (local) civil society for participants and non-participants in HE. It will carry out this comparison for the elite system of HE (up to the mid 1970s) and again for the mass system (1990s). Hence, there will be 4 samples.

The first stage of the analysis will involve deriving 4 such samples from the British Household Panel Survey/Understanding Society. The second stage of the analysis will involve the collection of new data. Here, our plan is to carry out in-depth, semi-structured interviews with two groups (25 respondents in each group) of graduates, one from the elite system, and the other from the mass system.

Supplementary analysis will include: analysis of the interviews conducted by WISERD (and others) with a sub-sample of NCDS respondents (who will have entered HE in the mid-1970s); re-analysis of the data generated by the major official reports on HE.

Research Questions

TBC

Outputs

  • Main publicity will be web-based (including podcasts). 
  • Two-page leaflet for interview respondents.

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