Inquiry Project Proposal

FrigginSushi's picture

I would like to investigate first generation college students for my inquiry project. I’m considering narrowing the topic to first generation college students who are 2nd generation immigrants because there are a lot of reasons why someone would be considered a “first generation” student. This was the first problem I encountered with my topic; how to define first generation. Some first generation college students are first generation because their parents never had the money for college. Some might be the first because their parents “didn’t work hard” in school when they were in high school. Some are first generation because their parents never had the opportunity (in the case of immigrant families). Each of these cases are unique and lend to individual experiences that are not shared with other first generation college student. I’ve also run into the issue of whether I’m including first generation college students who attend community college, 2 year colleges, or 4 year colleges. I believe this distinction might be important in the long run, but I’m still trying to think if it is important now. I’m most definitely sure that I will focus on the bridge between high school and college because to me, this has been the most challenging experience.

Comments

FrigginSushi's picture

Jccohen, I think focusing on

Jccohen,

I think focusing on first generation college students who are second generation immigrants is definitely where I'm going. I'm interested in working through different immigrant backgrounds as I do know many students from my own high school who are first generation college students but who's parents are from Vietnam so the idea of researching various cultural background does intrigue me. How does my experience within this group as a second generation latina different from my friend who is Vietnamese?

I think I'd like to know how these student adjust into a pridominently white education system. Not so much the culture shock factor (though that is certaintly an issue related to how a student might or might not feel comfortable speaking out in a class that is mostly white), but probably more academic performance expectations from their parents in comparison to the kind of expectations that white students have.

Still mulling this over, obviously.

jccohen's picture

expectations

FrigginSushi,

Okay, this issue of "academic performance expectations from their parents in comparison to the kind of expectations that white students have" is itself a complex and interesting one.  You're thinking of second generation immigrants in predominantly white colleges?  As I recall, Yosso and others talk about parental expectations partly in terms of "community wealth," though obviously there are also very different ways to look at this issue.  I like the way you're moving with this -- it's suggesting both some qualitative research with those folks you know from high school (among others) and library/web-based research that would give you some framework for working with these quesitons.  I'd suggest that soon you doing some looking around online and also draft some interview questions and conduct a pilot interview (or focus group) and see what you're learning...

jccohen's picture

first generation?

FrigginSushi,

I agree that how you define "first generation" will have a significant impact on your inquiry project.  And I can imagine that focusing on first generation college students who are second generation immigrants could give rise to a focused, rich vein of inquiry - if that captures your interest, it seems to me like a fruitful way to go.  Even within this "group" I suspect you'll find a number of subgroups, e.g. Tara Yosso's work on Latino/a students, Chhuon's work on Cambodian students, and this will offer dimensionality even within this more focused area...  And in another direction:  What is it you'd like to know about first generation college students?

jccohen's picture

first generation?

FrigginSushi,

I agree that how you define "first generation" will have a significant impact on your inquiry project.  And I can imagine that focusing on first generation college students who are second generation immigrants could give rise to a focused, rich vein of inquiry - if that captures your interest, it seems to me like a fruitful way to go.  Even within this "group" I suspect you'll find a number of subgroups, e.g. Tara Yosso's work on Latino/a students, Chhuon's work on Cambodian students, and this will offer dimensionality even within this more focused area...  And in another direction:  What is it you'd like to know about first generation college students?

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