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Professor Razinskas publishes his research in Studies in Higher Education

Studies in Higher Education

Studies in Higher Education
Bildquelle: SHE

News vom 29.06.2022

The article titled “Implicit resilience theories: A qualitative study of context-shapers at higher education institutions” has been accepted for publication in Studies in Higher Education. In their research, Stefan Razinskas together with Daniela Datzer and Martin Hoegl (both LMU Munich) investigate the role that implicit resilience theories play for the particularly high dropout rates in STEM-related subjects. Based on qualitative data from German higher education institutions, they show that the narratives to which deans of studies, administrators, and student representatives attend in explaining student dropout inform how these context-shapers differ in their legitimization of student dropout and perceptions of suitable measures to counteract it. This research is available for download here.


High dropout rates in STEM disciplines are certainly among the most crucial challenges that higher education is facing. While prior research has mainly applied an individual-centered approach that has helped identify factors explaining student dropout, an important yet under-examined issue is how those responsible for shaping the academic environment of students vary in their implicit assumptions of why some students persist while others drop out. In this study, we shift the focus toward the narratives regarding the reasons for student drop out. We report on an in-depth qualitative interview study comprising 59 deans of studies, administrators (i.e. quality managers and student advisors), and student representatives. This group of individuals contributes to the challenge of reducing student dropout by shaping the teaching and learning environment of students at German higher education institutions. Our grounded-theory model indicates that these context-shapers attend to different implicit theories on what constitutes resilient versus non-resilient students. The implicit resilience theories, in turn, result in dropout being legitimized in different ways, which determines the judgements made by context-shapers in terms of actions suitable to reduce student dropout.

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