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PhD students

Ed Bickle

Ed’s work concentrates on outreach and how aspiration is formed in young people coming from neighbourhoods with a low participation in higher education. The working title of his PhD thesis is “Widening Participation in Higher Education: The aspirations of young people living in Low Participation Neighbourhoods”.

The focus of the study is university outreach programmes and the prominence of initiatives that aim to raise the aspirations of young people to participate in higher education. To better understand how aspirations are formed, developed and articulated by young people, a phenomenological approach is being used. This will allow for a greater understanding of young people’s lived worlds and experiences, and how they make sense of this as they are faced with choices about their future. This project seeks to question whether traditional deficit models of aspiration are appropriate.

Ed has extensive experience researching widening participation policy and practice, having worked on the Aimhigher Programme from 2004-2011.​

Lizzie Gauntlett

The working title of Lizzie’s PhD project is “The Experience of Academic Resilience in Low-income Students of Higher Education”. The overarching aim of her study is to explore the phenomenon of academic resilience from the point of view of low-income HE students. Lizzie will employ a qualitative methodology to enrich our knowledge of the role of resilience in the prediction and facilitation of academic success. She will use of semi-structured interviews, analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Prior to coming to BU in 2014, she worked as a widening participation practitioner and taught A-Level students. Lizzie’s research interests lie in education and psychology, and their intersections.