What factors affect Social Capital amongst students?
I am an undergraduate student studying Economics, Psychology and Philosophy (EPP) at the University of Warwick. I am passionate about helping young people; I organised a TEDxYouth event in 2020, worked with Northampton Borough Council on COVID messaging for young people and founded Inspire your Future.
As part of the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS), Warwick has granted funding to complete research into social capital amongst young people. I am interested in the social networks that students form and use, and the factors that affect these. I am focusing my research on Years 10 to 13 (Key Stages 4 and 5), and I hope that the research will identify ways we can support students' access to social capital and meaningful networks.
The study will comprise of two parts: first, an online student questionnaire and second, small focus groups with students and staff. The online questionnaire is aimed at Years 10 and 12 and will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. It will cover topics concerning their interests, social networks, and their future plans. There will be no identifying or sensitive information collected from students. The questionnaire could take place during a form period/tutor time or during another time that you and your colleagues felt was appropriate. It would also be wonderful if students in Years 11 and 13 could have the opportunity to complete the survey, but I understand that this may not be possible due to GCSE and A-Levels exams.
The second element is non-essential and would take place at your discretion. I would like to hold small focus groups, which can take place either online or in-person with students and staff. These meetings would allow all students and staff to provide further, more in-depth information about topics relating to social networks and capital.
This study has received ethical approval from the Department of Education Studies at the University of Warwick, and the data collected is anonymous. We will not collect names or dates of birth - the information collected will remain confidential, and no student or school will be identifiable from the study. I am completing this research under the supervision of Dr Rebecca Morris from the University of Warwick. Her contact details are listed below should you wish to be in touch with her.
Social capital is a vital element for students and can facilitate future success. Social capital is not only related to the networks students form but the way they can articulate their desires in the future. This study will support our understanding of the access students have to networks and how students can develop these. I am keen to work collaboratively with the schools, and my research participants will share findings and recommendations on completing the study. I am also happy to contribute further, for example, by sharing resources/information that I have put together as part of my work with Inspire Your Future.
I would love the opportunity to discuss this research with you and the possibility of your students and staff participating to ensure my research is as diverse and representative as possible.
If you are interested in your school participating in this research study or would like any further information, don't hesitate to get in touch.