A Narrative Inquiry into Learning Practices and Career Opportunities in Graduate Education

David Ross Olanya, Geoffrey Olok Tabo, Hanan Lassen Zakaria, Inger Lassen, Judith Awacorach, Iben Jensen

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Narrative inquiry is concerned with the production, interpretation and representation of storied accounts
of lived experience, and this provides us with an effective way of understanding the lives of graduate
students. While much focus has concentrated on teachers’ stories and the transmission of theoretical
knowledge through lectures, little attention has been given to the relevance of narrative inquiry of student
stories as lived experience in changing the delivery in higher education in view of applying theoretical and
practical knowledge for solving problems in society. This study explores graduate students’ life experience
of a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, which introduced reflective learning and research into their
respective programmes. The overall aim of the study is to strengthen career opportunities by improving
graduate education, teaching and research at Gulu University, Uganda. We foreground students’ narratives
on mainly three themes: (a) their motivation for joining a Master’s programme, (b) their experience of
engaging in student-centred approaches to learning and research and (c) their hopes for career
opportunities. Through the method of narrative inquiry and as a way towards improving quality in graduate
education, we explore to what extent the students see an impact of a student-centred PBL approach on
graduate education. Our findings reveal that while being taught using traditional approaches to learning,
most students appreciate the innovative practices associated with active and problem-based learning. This
study will add value to the existing field in narrative inquiry from a student perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages11
Publication statusSubmitted - 2021

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