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Open Access High-school students engaging with researchers within a pre-university programme: Motivations and experiences

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For students, the transition between secondary school and higher education can be problematic. Their prior knowledge may be insufficient, they may lack the right attitude or not have enough skills for university. Especially gifted students often lack challenges to remain motivated. Moreover, it is not easy for secondary school students to get a good picture of a variety of further studies. For their teachers, it is difficult to keep students informed about actual research in science and technology, as they are not in touch with this research on a regular basis. In this paper, we report about experiences of more than ten years at Utrecht University, offering pre-university students opportunities to be involved in lectures, workshops, laboratories and research at the university. We report on students' motivation to register for this programme, and their experiences afterwards. Important categories of motivation and experience are: raising interest in science; the choice of, and preparation for, further studies; working with a group of similar, motivated students; the wish to be challenged; and the experience of doing research at the university. University lecturers involved in the programme like to work with these students, and are motivated to share their research experiences.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Engagement with research goes further than participation in it. Engaged individuals and communities initiate research, advise, challenge or collaborate with researchers. Their involvement is always active and they have a crucial influence on the conduct of the research.

    Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    The journal welcomes relevant articles. See the publication homepage for details, or contact [email protected]

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