• Ingen resultater fundet

to distinguish between dropouts who transfer from those who leave the system of higher education altogether. Presumably, among dismissals, high goal commitment will lead to transfer to institu- tions having lower standards of academic performance (i.e., downward transfer). Among voluntary withdrawals, sufficiently high goal commitment may lead to transfer to institutions perceived to be more matched to the person's intellectual and/or social needs and wants (i.e., horizontal or up- ward transfer). In both instances, sufficiently low goal commitment will tend to lead to permanent dropout from the system of higher education” (Ibid.: 117).

Inspired by Émile Durkheim’s theory of the lack of societal integration leading to suicide as well as Arnold Van Gennep’s social-anthropological theory of transition from one culture into a new cul- ture by a number of rites of passage (i.e. separation, transition and integration), Tinto’s model of dropout contains a built-in critique of psycologically grounded theories of university dropout, be- cause these primarily focus on the characteristics and attributes of the individual student and thus regard dropout as a ‘student failure’ (Ulriksen, 2010: 212). Tinto’s work, though, has not stood uncontested either. This pertains to both its theoretical foundation and its empirical applications.

At the theoretical level critiques have been addressed concerning lack of attention to sub- and minority cultures within universities. At the empirical level empirical tests of Tinto’s model have shown mixed support, cf. Ulriksen (2010: 214-217). Notwithstanding this, its seminal character within the research field of university dropout is still a fact.

Other significant process models of university dropout developed following Tinto’s ‘Student Inte- gration Model’ are Ernest T. Pascarella’s ‘Student-Faculty Informal Contact Model’ (Pascarella, 1980) and John P. Bean’s ‘Student Attrition Model’ (Bean, 1982). They are both delevoped in an American context like Tinto’s model. Focus in Pascarella’s model is on the influence of informal contacts between the student and faculty, whereas the focus in Bean’s model is on how the inter- action between the student’s background, personal beliefs and the institutional aspects within and outside university altogether make an impact on the student’s attitudes towards studying leading to his/her possible intentions to dropout followed by a likely decision to formally drop out. Cabre- ra et al. (1992, 1993) among others have found that these three models of university dropout could possibly be integrated into one common model, because they share some common features, e.g. they all include the influence of institutional factors as a focal point for university dropout.

ocal. Hence, it benefits from being termed dropout phenomena (in plural) at universities when the potential determinants of and contributing factors to university dropout are to be investigated.

Also, the answer to the second question ‘Why do such phenomena occur at universities?’ is in itself complex and multifactorial since various factors could in theory determine university dropout. The ambiguity of the university dropout concept, however, makes this complexity even greater.

For one thing, because of the ambiguity of the concept when analysing the potential determinants of and contributing factors to university dropout, it is of pivotal importance to distinguish between the different types of university dropout. As previously stated, different motivations lie behind each type of dropout, and thus different factors are assumed to give rise to each type of university dropout. Treating each dropout case alike should thus be warranted.

Secondly, it is important to be aware of the possibly diverging perspectives held at the different analytical levels affected when university dropout occurs: the individual student level, the univer- sity level (including different institutional within as well as the whole of academia) and the societal level. This includes the possibly conflicting views of the consequences of dropout and its severity as evaluated from the point of view of, for example, the individual student, the university man- agement level and the academia within that same university.

The possible answers to the third and final question ‘What can be done by the universities to pre- vent or reduce such dropout phenomena?’ is likewise dependent on the answers to both question 1 and 2.

4 Research mapping

This chapter draws a detailed map of the 62 studies that were found to comply with the scope of this systematic review. The 62 studies are represented by 69 documents (a full bibliographic rec- ord for each document can be found in Chapter 9). All studies are described in mutual and differ- ent categories and evaluated in the light of the research assessment so as to create a combined picture of current research contained within the scope of this review concerning its character on a number of parameters and its quality.

The chapter is structured in four parts. In Section 4.1 the 62 studies are accounted for bibliograph- ically and according to their actual study context. It is described where the studies were conduct- ed, how they were published and in which language they were written. This is followed by an ac- count in Section 4.2 of their content, i.e. the curriculum area(s) studied in connection to university dropout, the operationalisation of university dropout and the investigated possible determinants of university dropout and/or measures undertaken to prevent or reduce university dropout. Sec- tion 4.3 describes the design of the studies covering overall study design, study timing, sample size, data collection and data analysis methods applied.

Finally, Section 4.4 gives an account of the quality assessment of the 62 studies applying a ‘weight of evidence’ concept. Each study was assigned a weight of evidence of either high, medium or low.

Only studies with an assessed overall weight of evidence of medium or high can be included in a possible subsequent research synthesis. Section 4.5 summarises the findings of the previous sec- tions.