From senior student to novice worker: Learning trajectories in political science, psychology and mechanical engineering
2006 (English)In: Studies in Higher Education, ISSN 0307-5079 (print), 1470-174X (online), Vol. 31, no 5, 569-586 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This longitudinal study focuses on the transition from higher education to working life. Research has hitherto described the transition in rather general terms, and there is still only limited knowledge about how graduates construe themselves as professionals, or how they experience the transition to the sociocultural contexts of working life. In this study, the transition is viewed as a trajectory between different communities of practice. Three different Master's programmes at Linkping University are focused on and compared: political science, psychology and mechanical engineering. The specific aims are to: (i) identify aspects of identity and knowledge formation as reported by informants, both as senior students and later as novice workers with 18 months of work experience; (ii) identify features of discourses of knowledge and competence operating in the programmes and working life; and (iii) to relate the results to differences in the way the programmes are designed. The results indicate that the psychology programme prepares for working life in a rational way, that is, the generic skills and substantive knowledge acquired seem to correspond to the demands of professional work. The other programmes stand out as preparing for working life either by providing generic skills that need to be transformed in professional work, or by containing elements that mainly play a ritual role rather than corresponding to the demands of working life.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 31, no 5, 569-586 p.
National CategorySocial Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14573DOI: 10.1080/03075070600923400OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14573DiVA: diva2:23866