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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The Criminology Retention Project. University Keynote Speakers.

Roberts, Nicola and Williams, Helen (2022) The Criminology Retention Project. University Keynote Speakers. In: The University of Sunderland Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, 7 December 2022, The Fire Station, Sunderland.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


New first-year students are vulnerable to dropping out of university because the transition into higher education is awkward to navigate. Despite the rise in the number of criminology students studying in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the UK, little research has been carried out on the factors related to the non-progression of such students on a programme of study. In this research, survey data was gathered from three consecutive cohorts of first year undergraduate Criminology students (n=165), who were enrolled at a university in the North of England from 2014 to 2017, throughout their first year of study. Qualitative data was also gathered from focus groups/interview, exit interviews and surveys during the students first-year of study to explore how they transitioned into HE. The statistical results show that 25% (n=42) of students did not progress onto the second year of their programme. Binary logistic regression was used to identify variables that predict their odds of failing to progress. Three variables were found descending from the strongest to least strong predictor: i) being referred in assessments over the year; ii) thinking about dropping out of university towards the end of the first year; and iii) moving to study at their HEI. Findings from the qualitative data show that the transition to a new identity of a university student was hampered by feelings of awkwardness, which prevented students from fully integrating into student life. Three different types of awkwardness were found: physical/geographical, social, and academic. However, the subject of criminology was a protective factor because interest in the topic and wanting a degree for betterment, including for future career plans, buffered students against dropping out. The implications for re-developing the criminology curriculum to support students to forge a criminology student identity quickly, to enhance student retention, are discussed.

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More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 15518

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD
ORCID for Helen Williams: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 19:51
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 19:51


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Helen Williams ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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