Introducing the Navigator, the Juggler, and the Analyst: A Q Profile of Undergraduate Psychology Students within an Australian University
Much of the existing literature investigating non-completion in the university sector focuses on the demographic characteristics of the students while failing to adequately apply the same degree of scrutiny to the institution itself. In this paper we present the findings from the final stage of a three phase investigation into retention in a Western Australian university that utilises Q Method to understand the subjective interpretation and meaning of the student experience and how this relates to retention. The sample of 45 undergraduates was drawn from each of the four years of the psychology programme at Edith Cowan University and so provides an opportunity to examine how the student experience might change over time. This approach also offers some insight into the experience of the contemporary student in relation to the diversity of the student population, and the multiplicity of demands he or she might manage in the course of completing an undergraduate degree. Findings from this research identify three distinct profiles among the cohort: The Navigator, The Juggler, and The Analyst. Each of these profiles describes a different type of student in relation to the external demands he or she might face in addition to the role of student, and the strategies they develop to assist them in achieving their goal(s). Identifying these profiles provides the school of Psychology with the opportunity to tailor their student support systems more closely to the needs of their specific students and therefore increase overall retention rates within the programme. The findings also offer the opportunity to other schools and departments to engage in similar domain specific research in order to identify and remove potential barriers to retention within their own learning contexts.
Darlaston-Jones, D. (2007). Introducing the navigator, the juggler, and the analyst: A Q Profile of undergraduate psychology students within an Australian university. Australian Community Psychologist, 19(2), 63-77.