“It’s not like I’m on my own”: recognising and recording the experiences of estranged students in Higher Education

  • Rachel Spacey University of Lincoln
Keywords: estranged, students, higher education, photo-elicitation, participatory research


This paper presents the findings of institutional research undertaken at a post-1992 university in England funded by a Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute Award (LHERA) to record and recognise the experiences of estranged students in Higher Education. Estranged students often have no contact with their family and are studying at university without the support and approval of a family network. Little is known about the experiences of estranged students at university and the research reported here aimed to fill that gap by focussing on the ways in which the university currently supported estranged students with a view to offering practical ways in which the institution could improve that support. The research also reflects on the usefulness of photo-elicitation using smartphones as a research method with estranged students.