The experiences of postgraduate research students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic background: an exploratory study

Lynam, Siobhan, Lafarge, Caroline ORCID:, Milani, Raffaella Margherita ORCID: and Worrell, Marcia (2019) The experiences of postgraduate research students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic background: an exploratory study. In: 1st International Conference on the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researcher, 16 May 2019, Brighton, England. (Unpublished)

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Background - The contribution of postgraduate research to creating highly skilled workforces, to knowledge creation and transfer activities, and its contribution to global economies cannot be under estimated. Yet, in spite of this, recent attention has been drawn to the various challenges faced by postgraduate research students in terms of mental health, lack of job control and clarity, excessive demands and ambiguous job role status. Evidence also suggests that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) postgraduate research students may face specific challenges, and that these are not necessarily addressed by universities’ support structures. The aim of this study is therefore to explore the experience of postgraduate research students from a BAME background who are currently studying in the UK.

Methods – Telephone semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 postgraduate research students across a range of disciplines and institutions. Participants were recruited through postgraduate online networks. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis.

Results - This paper reports the preliminary findings of the study. Using the analytic lens of both Crenshaw’s intersectional theory and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, three areas were identified as best conveying the experiences of postgraduate research students from a BAME background. These include: the micro experience (Individual expectations and experiences); the meso experience (relations to peers, to the supervisory and/or mentoring teams, to friends, family, and other support network); and the macro experience (institutions’ structures and policies, national and international policies and context). Within each area, the paper will focus on the barriers which BAME postgraduate research students have to navigate while attempting to complete their research programmes.

Conclusions – The implications of the study will be discussed in terms of recommendations for best practice and further research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: Education > Higher education > HE pedagogies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Siobhan Lynam
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:11


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