Small Group Project 2021
Research Aims: To give voice to the COVID-19 ‘lost’ generation of Higher Education (HE) students:
Methods: This research will take place over twelve months, involving up to 100 students across all faculties at Oxford Brookes University. Photovoice is a participatory action research method with participants at the centre of the data creation. It provides participants with skills in self-advocacy and influence over policy makers to prioritise their needs. Participants will be central to the data analysis applying Bruan and Clarke’s Thematic Analysis Framework (2006). Participants in previous projects have created powerful and thought-provoking images/captions.
Contribution to Knowledge: The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation which has impacted the educational experience of students of all ages, both in the UK and globally. This small-scale initial research aims to access HE students’ experience of learning through them sharing their perceptions. Using Photovoice enables the participants to shape the direction and content of the research rather than it being filtered through the questions and format structured by researchers. Involving students in the data analysis further develops their empowerment as they are central to the interpretation of the data. This research provides unique insight into students’ perspectives.
Value in realising the goals of ISRF: Innovation and cross-faculty working are guiding principles for this research. Applying Photovoice creatively, through asking the student participants to share their experiences of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes the power dynamic. Although the researchers set the question, the participants’ interpretation and leading the data creation and analysis is innovative. Using Zoom for interacting with participants breaks free of the stricture of face-to-face meetings.