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This literature review focuses on researches relevant to the development of theory on the personal and academic experiences of Ivatan students enrolled in higher education institutions in the mainland Luzon.
According to Creswell (2009), qualitative methods provide a richness and depth about the way students experience the phenomenon. Strauss & Corbin (1998) mentioned that grounded theory is a qualitative method which encourages flexible interaction with participants in their natural settings. The central aim is hearing the participants’ voices and experiences, thus, the participants in the grounded theory studies are invited into a collective process of discourse and meaning making.
Creswell (2013) also stated that grounded theory method addresses questions of “how” and “why” questions about process. In this instance, the experiences and the students’ transition in the tertiary education in the mainland Luzon will be examined.
In 2015, Zhou et al. conducted a grounded theory qualitative study on the early college entrants’ lived experiences to understand how they responded to the academic, social and developmental opportunities and challenges.
The data were gathered from thirty-four graduates from one cohort of 51 students from a prestigious early college entrance program in China. The study was phenomenological in the sense that lived experiences of the early entrants provided the basic evidence of what transpired in such a special program. However, the grounded theory approach, as a main analytic tool for the study, went beyond interpretations of subjective experiences and perceptions, viewing them as characteristic of deeper behavioral and psychological regularities. Based on the interview data, the study identified distinct convergent and divergent patterns of lived experiences and changes.
Several dominant themes were found including peers’ mutual stimulation for excellence, academic competition, big-fish-little-pond effect, coping with academic challenges, transition to college life, developing intrinsic interests, and making critical career decisions. Moreover, the study developed a model of cope-and-grow of strivings for academic excellence while developing one’s self-identity grounded on the interview data. The authors reported three interrelated claims about the unique situation in which early college entrants found themselves, individual differences in coping and growing experiences, and intrapersonal changes over time.
Meanwhile, Crain (2016) did a qualitative study on the Chinese international students’ transition to American tertiary education. Grounded theory method was employed to highlight participants’ voices and rich experiences, analyze the data and build a theory that reflects Chinese international students’ experiences transitioning to American university life. Eighteen participants shared their experiences and from their narratives, several themes emerged and a theory of transition. Students’ practical, emotional, social, intellectual, and ideological needs shaped their experiences, and significant positive and negative experiences provided points of divergence during which students either maintained or expanded upon their comfort zone.
Similarly, Lewis et al. (2013) employed a qualitative approach to investigate the international students’ social network, and their social adaptability as well as their life experiences in Taiwan. The researchers combined two types of interview, one was in the form of individual interviews and the other one in the form of focus group. During the analysis of data, the researchers summarized key themes, reflections, and insights in a field log after each session. The researchers independently reviewed field logs and focus group recordings to generate a list of key themes, then, a case record was established. After all data were transcribed as case records, primary themes were determined. Topics and emerging themes were recorded, and a master list was generated until the reexamination of case records was completed and one case study was formed. However, limitations were reported in the study. One is the number of recruited participants. Only few international students joined the focus group interview. The more participants should have joined in the research, the more data should have been generated. Another is the uncertainty of the research object. According to the researchers, because the participants in the focus group were needed to express themselves and the different personality will change the way they communicated with people, therefore, it might increase the uncertainty of the study.
On the other, Exposito (2015) explored the international students’ experiences who attended an American college in a qualitative study. He used the interpretative phenomenological analysis, an approach that allowed participants to share stories and reflectively describe experiences. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of nine participants. During each interview which lasted an hour, the researcher conducted memoing, the process of recording reflective notes. In the data collection procedure, the researcher utilized a sequence of seven open-ended questions which collected in-depth data from the international students about their lived experiences as a student in an American college. From the analysis, common themes and relationships between these themes emerged based on the participants’ responses, such as tutoring and support, learning and studying, faculty explanation of lesson, and social life exists.
Porteous and Machin (2017) reported having conducted a study on the lived experiences of first year undergraduate nursing students with the aim of understanding how they perceived their experiences of the transition into higher education and nursing profession. The participants’ lived experiences were explored using the hermeneutic phenomenological approach. During the analysis, data was transcribed verbatim, systematically thematically analyzed drawing on hermeneutic phenomenological principles. The thematic accuracy was then verified by the participants. The study generated five themes from the data gathered such as uncertainty, expectations, learning to survive seeking support and moving forward.
On the other hand, Wright and Schartner (2013), in a mixed-methods study, investigated the effects of language proficiency and student engagement on sociocultural adaptation. They found that international students expressed reluctance to participate in available interaction opportunities with local students, but at the same time, were frustrated by a limited interaction with English speakers.
In the study of Russell et al. (2010), they modified a questionnaire to investigate three domains of international student well-being and it was found that almost 60% of students were classified as having positive adaptation. Others demonstrated fewer positive ways of adapting to their experience.
Turner (2009) employed qualitative research and used journals to extract themes to develop a case study that critically assessed the students’ perception of each other and of the groups in which they participated. The study found that students unhappily coexisted in groups but did not fully inhabit them and that students became less enthusiastic to work with people who were different over time.
Using qualitative study, Anayah (2012) examined the experience of international students at selected California community colleges and explored how they perceived their needs are being met in their educational, social, and cultural goals. Factors that influenced international students’ experience in community colleges were identified. It was revealed during the interview process that international students chose a community college to improve language skills, a better education, and the relatively easy and open process of admission.
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