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OFFA Access Agreements - Content and discourse analysis

OFFA access agreements books


Professor Colin McCaig

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Leading research on the widening participation agenda in the higher education sector in England using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Political Discourse Analysis (PDA)

For this strand of my research (mainly funded by REF time) I have taken a sample of higher education institutions’ (HEI) access agreements and followed them historically since the first iteration in 2006, to yield a comparison between HEI types and over time. This enables me to identify changes in policy and priorities in relation to outreach and financial support for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Latterly I have used a discourse analysis frame to show how HEI have responded to marketisation pressures and government agendas and how this varies by type, and have extended this to incorporate a critical political discourse methodology, setting access agreements data. This ongoing programme of work, using the same sample of institutions’ access agreements, has been highlighted in a variety of conference presentations, journal articles and book chapters. It has also indirectly led to commissioned research including for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Office for Fair Access, and the Higher Education Academy.

Colin has become recognised as one of the pre-eminent researchers in the interface between the marketisation of English higher education and the policy of widening participation. He will publish two books on these themes during the course of 2018.


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