Southampton Education School

Research Group: Educational and career decision-making

This is an increasingly important area of research in today’s society where globalisation and rapid change are having a major impact on all aspects of education and life-course transitions.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Individuals can no longer rely on solely on tradition and past economic employment patterns to guide their decision making and navigate their way through increasing complex educational and employment settings. Such decisions making, related to life-style, careers and education represent substantial risks, they are moments of life-course transition that are characterized by high consequent risks which shape self-identity, future life-chances.

We are interested in the factors that influence decision making in what Giddens calls these ‘fateful moments’ (1991:12). what shapes a person’s decision to participate, or not, in education and training or particular fields of employment? To what extent are patterns of decision-making reproduced or resisted across and within families and generations? We have conducted research for a variety of funders in this area including on guidance and support, transitions from school to tertiary education and training and on the education and career decision-making of adults.

This research area comes under the Lifelong and Work-Related Learning Research Centre (LaWRL).


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Foskett, Nick, Dyke, Martin and Maringe, Felix (2008) The Influence of the school in the decision to participate in learning post 16. British Educational Research Journal, 34, (1), 37-61. (doi:10.1080/01411920701491961).
Fuller, A. (2007) Mid-life 'transitions' to higher education: developing a multi-level explanation of increasing participation. Studies in the Education of Adults, 39, (2), 217-235.

Book Section

Fuller, A., Foskett, R., Johnston, B. and Paton, K. (2011) 'Getting by' or 'getting ahead'? Gendered educational and career decision-making in networks of intimacy. In, Gendered Choices and Transitions in Lifelong Learning: Part-Time Pathways, Full-Time Lives. Heidelberg, DE, Springer.
Johnston, Brenda and Little, Brenda (2007) Socio-biographic background and educational path. In, Teichler, Ulrich (ed.) Careers of university graduates: views and experiences in comparative perspective. New York, US, Springer. (Higher education dynamics, 17).

Conference or Workshop Item

Dyke, Martin, Foskett, Nick and Maringe, Felix (2005) The impact of information and experience on the decision to participate in learning in post-compulsory education. In, Annual American Educational Research Association Conference, Montreal, Canada, 11 - 15 Apr 2005. University of Southampton, UK, School of Education, University of Southampton13pp.