Margaret Farren M.Ed. Phd

School of Education Studies, Dublin City University

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Home Ph.D students Lorraine Delaney (Oscail)

Lorraine Delaney (Oscail)

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Proposal for paper

This study is an exploration of the reasons why students choose to complete their higher education online together with an exploration of the factors which motivate them to succeed. The participants in this study are those who have graduated with a level 8 honours degree qualification through online learning.

Currently an annual survey of full-time and part-time students in Irish higher education is conduced; The Eurostudent Survey (Harmon & Foubert, 2011). While online students are included in these surveys, incorporated into the part-time students cohort, currently little work is done to extract or highlight the position of online students in particular. There remains therefore, a dearth of literature on those who complete their higher education online in Ireland. More specifically, no data is gathered on the socio-economic profile or motivation of those who have graduated from Irish online higher education. This study seeks to address that imbalance.

A case study approach will be adopted, employing mixed methods (survey and semi-structured interviews) to collect data. A theoretical framework will be employed, drawing on the theories of Bourdieu (1977) in relation to habitus, field and capital to explore social class and Honneth (1995) in order to explore the relationship between motivation and the desire for recognition.


Bourdieu, P. and Passeron, J. (1977) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture, London: Sage

Harmon, D. and Foubert, O. (2011): Eurostudent Survey 1V Report on the Social and Living Conditions of Higher Education Students In Ireland 2009/2010: Dublin: Higher Education Authority and Insight Statistical Consulting.

Honneth, A. (1995): The struggle for recognition: The moral grammar of social conflicts. Cambridge: Polity Press

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 17:27