Vol. 38 No. 1 (2023)
Research Articles

The experience of BAME students on a psychology undergraduate dissertation module

Sharon Xuereb
The Open University

Published 2023-09-08

How to Cite

Xuereb, S. (2023). The experience of BAME students on a psychology undergraduate dissertation module. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 38(1). https://doi.org/10.55667/10.55667/ijede.2023.v38.i1.1290


Abstract: In higher education in the United Kingdom (UK), students from ethnic minorities get lower grades than White students. This study focused on the experiences of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students completing an undergraduate psychology dissertation module. Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989) underpinned this study. A reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006) methodology was used. Eleven BAME students engaged in individual interviews about their lived experience when completing an undergraduate psychology dissertation module. Participants spoke about the following five themes: module content, tutor, project, other students, and ethnicity. Participants who wanted to research ethnicity-focused topics had tutors with insufficient understanding of the topic. When interacting with tutors and peers, participants stopped to consider whether their ethnicity would negatively impact how they were perceived. They reported challenges in understanding the material and engaging in academic discussions, and they spoke about inconsistency amongst tutors. Students discussed how locating the relevant information took up time, which was particularly worrying for students with work or family commitments. These findings indicate that universities should diversify their staff and student pool and ensure students have access to supportive and effective tutors. Students should be sufficiently prepared for the dissertation module, and assessment and marking guidance should be communicated clearly to both tutors and students. Furthermore, module materials should capture achievements of minority populations.

Keywords: BAME students; awarding gap; undergraduate dissertation

L'expériences des étudiants NAME qui terminent un module de dissertation de premier cycle en psychologie

Sharon Xuereb

Résumé : Dans l'enseignement supérieur au Royaume-Uni, les étudiants issus de minorités ethniques obtiennent des notes inférieures à celles des étudiants blancs. Cette étude se concentre sur les expériences des étudiants noirs, asiatiques et issus de minorités ethniques (NAME) qui suivent un module de mémoire de psychologie de premier cycle. La théorie de l'autodétermination (Ryan & Deci, 2000) et l'intersectionnalité (Crenshaw, 1989) ont été les fondements de cette étude. Une méthodologie d'analyse thématique et réflexive (Braun & Clark, 2006) a été utilisée. Onze étudiants NAME ont participé à des entretiens individuels sur leur expérience vécue lors de la réalisation d'un module de dissertation en psychologie. Les participants ont abordé les cinq thèmes suivants : le contenu du module, le tuteur, le projet, les autres étudiants et l'ethnicité. Les participants qui voulaient faire des recherches sur des sujets axés sur l'ethnicité ont eu des tuteurs qui ne comprenaient pas suffisamment le sujet. Lors des interactions avec les tuteurs et les pairs, les participants se sont arrêtés pour se demander si leur appartenance ethnique pouvait avoir un impact négatif sur la façon dont ils étaient perçus. Ils ont fait état de difficultés à comprendre la matière et à s'engager dans des discussions académiques, et ils ont parlé de l'incohérence des tuteurs. Les étudiants ont expliqué que la recherche des informations pertinentes leur prenait du temps, ce qui était particulièrement préoccupant pour les étudiants ayant des obligations professionnelles ou familiales. Ces résultats indiquent que les universités devraient diversifier leur personnel et leur vivier d'étudiants et veiller à ce que les étudiants aient accès à des tuteurs efficaces et compréhensifs. Les étudiants devraient être suffisamment préparés pour le module de mémoire, et les conseils en matière d'évaluation et de notation devraient être communiqués clairement aux tuteurs et aux étudiants. En outre, les supports des modules devraient faire état des accomplissements des populations minoritaires.

Mots-clés : Étudiants NAME ; differences de valorisation ; mémoire de premier cycle


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