Comparing and contrasting student identity change in different educational settings

Zhu, Dandan (2016) Comparing and contrasting student identity change in different educational settings. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores the nature and change of student identity in two universities with different educational settings in China. The thesis also focuses on whether and how two different institutional contexts influence university students’ identity change. The universities in the study are Zhejiang University, which is a Chinese university, and the university of Nottingham Ningbo China, a transnational university (British university campus) in China. The theoretical framework of the study draws from sociological and social psychological theories of identities, and in particular Burke and Set’s (2009) identity theory. Burke and Stets’ (2009) model proposed three dimensions when analysing identities: role identity, group identity and personal identity. This study uses this model to investigate students’ identity change in the afore-mentioned universities.

This study used a qualitative methodology that included documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with six final year students from each of the two universities. The main findings provide empirical evidence for Burke and Stets’ (2009) theoretical model, and identify three transitional phases for university students’ identity change. The findings suggest that students’ identity change is a process involving rich interactions among students’ role, group and personal identity. The findings reveal that students’ identity changes derive from interactions between students’ individual contexts, institutional contexts and the wider social context in China. The findings support existing literature which characterises student identity as multi-dimensional, complex and dynamic but also contribute to the literature by providing empirical evidence in the context of China which is different from the context of existing identity theories. Similarities and differences are identified between the participants from the two universities and the role of each university is analysed. The evidence from this study has important implications for both universities, and adds to the discussion on the internationalisation of higher education in China.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gu, Qing
Day, C.
Keywords: Student Identity, China, Higher Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 32936
Depositing User: Zhu, Dandan
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 15:16

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