A narrative inquiry perspective into coping mechanisms of international postgraduate students’ transition experiences

Gwyneth James 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 41-56

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To research the transition experiences of a group of international postgraduate students, this study focused on the use of a methodology which, although gaining much popularity in recent years, is still under used in UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) contexts. Narrative inquiry is arguably the most suitable way of uncovering and understanding more deeply the complex and multi-layered experiences of individuals, focusing as it does on the study of ‘lived experience – that is, lives and how they are lived’. Here, the focus was five Latin American postgraduate students. Little research to date has focused on this group of students in terms of transition and learning experiences using this refreshingly different methodology, whose use and aim is to ‘paint a complex picture of the issue in focus. In this particular study this issue was to both understand how these five students coped with challenges inherent in their transition to the UK and their studies here as well as use such understanding to inform teaching practice.

Keywords: Narrative inquiry, student experience, transition, postgraduate, international students