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A Qualitative Investigation of Student Outcomes in a Residential Learning Community

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Researchers conducted a qualitative study of students' in- and out-of-class experiences in a residential learning community at a mid-sized public institution. Focus group interviews were conducted to explore (a) the outcomes of learning community membership from participants' point of view and (b) the connections between participants' reported perceptions and behaviors and the measurable outcomes of the program (i.e., those previously assessed using quantitative means). Based on the qualitative analysis, seven themes were identified. This report identifies and explicates those themes and provides illustrative quotations from focus group participants. Based on the findings, recommendations for learning community program development and administration are presented.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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