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Assessing the self-esteem of female undergraduate students: an issue of methodology

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For many students, embarking on higher education can pose particular threats and challenges, not only to academic identity, but also to fundamental, personal aspects of the self. This paper reports a methodological study that employed quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore the impact on the sense of self and self-esteem of a group of female first-year undergraduates. Results from a Self-esteem inventory, a variation on Q Methodology, an Ideal-self inventory and a semi-structured interview revealed different but complementary aspects of the self and indicated that participants' self-esteem increased over the duration of the study, as recorded on all four measures. It is suggested that the most appropriate way of uncovering and understanding mediators of self-esteem may be through a mixed-method approach.
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Keywords: Higher education; Methodology; Self-esteem

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge, UK 2: The Open University, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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