Candidate Number: 082414391
Dissertation for the partial completion of BA Sociology
Table of contents 1. Chapter I: Introduction and statement of the sociological problem
2. Chapter II: Review of relevant Literature and context
3. Chapter III: Discussion of methodological issues and ethics
4. Chapter IV: Findings
5. Chapter V: Reflections and limitations
6. Chapter VI: Conclusion
8. Appendices * Participant information sheet * Focus group question
Chapter I: Introduction and statement of the sociological problem
This qualitative research aims to investigate and compare the views of British Muslim women students coming to University. Literature (Ahmad, 2001) suggests that British Muslim women students go through different experiences at university under the influence of culture when compared to the experiences of other groups of women students entering higher education. With this proposal in mind the aim of the study was to investigate both the decision-making process in choosing a University and subsequent experiences of being at University for British Muslim women. The study investigated how Muslim women’s culture shapes their university choices and subsequent experience. Part of this involved investigating the experiences of a non ethnic majority group - British white women. The views of British White women keep have been explored for comparative purposes, but the main focus and aim of the study has been to explore the experiences of Muslim women at , a group for whom there is a reduced level of understanding around the impact of culture on university decision-making and experience (Bhopal,2010
Recent studies(quoted in Ahmad,2001) have suggested that there has been a significant increase in participation of Muslim women students in Universities and this rejects the stereotype of viewing the new generation of Muslim women as “secluded and passive women” which the older generation of Muslim women were in Britain (Ahmad, 2001:140).The daughter’s “education” is now considered as bringing “Prestigious” capital to the family, with families actively encouraging their daughters to pursue higher education. However some studies have argued that Muslim female students might have different reasons other than the explicit ones in pursuing further education, such as to delay early marriages, or to have more input in their marriage prospects (Ahmad, 2001).
Researchers like Bhopal (2010) and Ahmed (2001) have argued about the continuous existence of patriarchal and cultural influences in shaping Muslim women’s experience in higher education but a comparison on personal perspective of other female students from non- ethnic minority group is needed. This is needed in order to understand to what extent cultural and patriarchal factors may influence and shape Muslim female’s decisions and experiences at University in compare to their non-ethnic minority counterparts.
Focus groups were conducted with groups of 16 female students (8 female participants from British Muslim backgrounds and 8 female participants from British White backgrounds) studying at the University of Leicester as primary method collect data. This project was interested in gathering the personal perspectives of the two different groups in qualitative terms, aiming for rich, detailed data that facilitated comparisons in the experiences of the women involved in the study with a view to understanding more about the experiences of Muslim women in higher education. Although the sample size used in this study may have been small –scale and unrepresentative of the whole population, this study aimed to draw to some deep understanding of Muslim women students