“I’m not Typical”: A Study Exploring the Effect of Social Comparison and Categorisation by Undergraduates

McGeough, Julienne and McIlroy, David and Palmer-Conn, Susan (2016) “I’m not Typical”: A Study Exploring the Effect of Social Comparison and Categorisation by Undergraduates. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE, 7 (2). pp. 2799-2806. ISSN ISSN 2042-6364

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Widening participation has led to a growth in
university places across the Higher Education
Sector. Alongside this, there is greater public
scrutiny of the quality of both degrees and
institutions. Additionally, students have a greater
awareness of the potential quality of the institute
they are attending via league tables and the annual
NSS. While research has been undertaken exploring
how students make choices there has been less focus
on the experience of students at “lower status”
universities. Three focus groups of N = 19
Psychology students from a North-West university
were conducted to discuss issues of identity.
Thematic Analysis was used to explore issues of
Social comparisons and Identity processes. The main
themes to emerge were transitional issues, threats to
identity and identity protection as students developed
narratives around their perceptions of status of
student and institution. Furthermore, “othering”
processes allowed exploration of the dual
comparison processes when identifying with the
institution label. These findings are discussed in
relation to enabling students to develop a stronger

Item Type: Article
Keywords: social comparison, students, HEI, Higher Education, Social Identity Theory
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Julienne MCGEOUGH
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2017 09:17
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2017 13:24
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1848

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