Department of Education

Neil Harrison

Deputy Director of the Rees Centre, Senior Researcher and Associate Professor

Neil Harrison is a senior researcher and deputy director of the Rees Centre.

Neil’s primary area of research interest is around access to higher education, especially for groups of people who are disadvantaged or marginalised in society.  This includes topics such as financial support, outreach programmes, alternative qualification routes and the factors underpinning student success.  He has also researched around the engagement of students in internationalised universities and the concept of global citizenship, as well as having an interest in epistemology and ‘expertise’.  Neil has recently led commissioned projects for the Office for Students (formerly the Office for Fair Access) and the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers.

Originally trained as an applied statistician, Neil now uses a mixed methods and interdisciplinary approach drawing on concepts and methodologies from sociology, psychology, economics and social policy.

He is an executive editor for Teaching in Higher Education journal, an elected member of the governing council for the Society for Research into Higher Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Funded Research Projects:

  • What Factors Affect Access, Retention and Graduate Outcomes for Students with a Background of Care or Family Estrangement?

    November 2018 - September 2019

    Unite Foundation

  • Care Leavers' Transition into the Labour Market in England

    March 2019 - August 2020

    Nuffield Foundation

Doctoral Applications

Neil welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • Care-experienced students in higher education
  • Adult transitions for care-experienced young people
  • Education of children in the care system
  • Widening participation in higher education to disadvantaged or marginalised groups
  • Young people’s decision-making processes
  • Global citizenship and transnational education

Publications:

  • Books

  • Book chapters

    • Harrison, N (2017) “Patterns of participation in a period of change: Social trends in english higher education from 2000 to 2016”, In: Higher Education and Social Inequalities: University Admissions, Experiences, and Outcomes. 54-80
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315449722

    • Harrison, N (2016) “Student choices under uncertainty: Bounded rationality and behavioural economics”, In: Access to Higher Education: Theoretical perspectives and contemporary challenges. 85-100
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315684574

    • Harrison, N, Peacock, N (2009) “Interactions in the international classroom: The UK perspective”, In: Internationalisation and the Student Voice: Higher Education Perspectives. 125-142
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780203865309

  • Journal articles

    • Harrison, N, Luckett, K (2019) “Experts, knowledge and criticality in the age of 'alternative facts': re-examining the contribution of higher education”, TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION. 24(3) 259-271.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2019.1578577

    • Harrison, N, Waller, R (2018) “Challenging discourses of aspiration: The role of expectations and attainment in access to higher education”, BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL. 44(5) 914-938.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3475

    • Harrison, N (2018) “Students-as-insurers: rethinking ‘risk’ for disadvantaged young people considering higher education in England”, Journal of Youth Studies.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2018.1535174

    • Harrison, N (2018) “Using the lens of 'possible selves' to explore access to higher education: A new conceptual model for practice, policy, and research”, Social Sciences. 7(10)
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100209

    • Harrison, N, Davies, S, Harris, R, Waller, R (2018) “Access, participation and capabilities: theorising the contribution of university bursaries to students' well-being, flourishing and success”, CAMBRIDGE JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. 48(6) 677-695.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2017.1401586

    • Harrison, N, McCaig, C (2017) “Examining the epistemology of impact and success of educational interventions using a reflective case study of university bursaries”, BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL. 43(2) 290-309.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3263

    • Harrison, N, Waller, R (2017) “Evaluating outreach activities: overcoming challenges through a realist ‘small steps’ approach”, Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education. 21(2-3) 81-87.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13603108.2016.1256353

    • Harrison, N, Waller, R (2017) “Success and Impact in Widening Participation Policy: What Works and How Do We Know?”, HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY. 30(2) 141-160.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-016-0020-x

    • d’Aguiar, S, Harrison, N (2016) “Returning from earning: UK graduates returning to postgraduate study, with particular respect to STEM subjects, gender and ethnicity”, Journal of Education and Work. 29(5) 584-613.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2014.1001332

    • Harrison, N, Agnew, S (2016) “Individual and Social Influences on Students’ Attitudes to Debt: a Cross-National Path Analysis Using Data from England and New Zealand”, Higher Education Quarterly. 70(4) 332-353.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12094

    • Harrison, N (2015) “Practice, problems and power in 'internationalisation at home': critical reflections on recent research evidence”, TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION. 20(4) 412-430.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2015.1022147

    • Harrison, N, James, D, Last, K (2015) “Don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? Skills-led qualifications, secondary school attainment and policy choices”, RESEARCH PAPERS IN EDUCATION. 30(5) 585-608.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2014.1002526

    • Harrison, N, McCaig, C (2015) “An ecological fallacy in higher education policy: the use, overuse and misuse of ‘low participation neighbourhoods’”, Journal of Further and Higher Education. 39(6) 793-817.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2013.858681

    • Harrison, N, Agnew, S, Serido, J (2015) “Attitudes to debt among indebted undergraduates: A cross-national exploratory factor analysis”, JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC PSYCHOLOGY. 46 62-73.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2014.11.005

    • Harrison, N, Chudry, F, Waller, R, Hatt, S (2015) “Towards a typology of debt attitudes among contemporary young UK undergraduates”, Journal of Further and Higher Education. 39(1) 85-107.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2013.778966

    • Waller, R, Harrison, N, Hatt, S, Chudry, F (2014) “Undergraduates' memories of school-based work experience and the role of social class in placement choices in the UK”, Journal of Education and Work. 27(3) 323-349.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2012.742183

    • Harrison, N (2013) “Modelling the demand for higher education by local authority area in England using academic, economic and social data”, BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL. 39(5) 793-816.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3000

    • Harrison, N (2012) “Investigating the impact of personality and early life experiences on intercultural interaction in internationalised universities”, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERCULTURAL RELATIONS. 36(2) 224-237.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.03.007

    • Harrison, N, Hatt, S (2012) “Expensive and failing? The role of student bursaries in widening participation and fair access in England”, STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION. 37(6) 695-712.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2010.539679

    • Harrison, N (2011) “Have the changes introduced by the 2004 Higher Education Act made higher education admissions in England wider and fairer?”, JOURNAL OF EDUCATION POLICY. 26(3) 449-468.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2010.513742

    • Harrison, N, Chudry, F (2011) “Overactive, overwrought or overdrawn? the role of personality in undergraduate financial knowledge, decision-making and debt”, Journal of Further and Higher Education. 35(2) 149-182.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2010.540080

    • Harrison, N, Hatt, S (2010) “'Disadvantaged learners': Who are we targeting? Understanding the targeting of widening participation activity in the United Kingdom using geo-demographic data from southwest England”, Higher Education Quarterly. 64(1) 65-88.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2009.00431.x

    • Harrison, N, Peacock, N (2010) “Cultural distance, mindfulness and passive xenophobia: using Integrated Threat Theory to explore home higher education students' perspectives on 'internationalisation at home'”, BRITISH EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL. 36(6) 877-902.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01411920903191047

    • Peacock, N, Harrison, N (2009) “"It's so much easier to go with what's easy": "Mindfulness" and the discourse between home and international students in the United Kingdom”, Journal of Studies in International Education. 13(4) 487-508.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1177/1028315308319508

    • Harrison, N (2006) “The impact of negative experiences, dissatisfaction and attachment on first year undergraduate withdrawal”, Journal of Further and Higher Education. 30(4) 377-391.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03098770600965383

    • Hatt, S, Hannan, A, Baxter, A, Harrison, N (2005) “Opportunity knocks? The impact of bursary schemes on students from low-income backgrounds”, STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION. 30(4) 373-388.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075070500160038

    • Harrison, N “Patterns of participation in higher education for care-experienced students in England: why has there not been more progress?”, Studies in Higher Education. 1-15.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582014

  • Reports

    • Harrison, N, Vigurs, K, Crockford, J, McCaig, C, Squire, R, Clark, L (2018) Understanding the evaluation of access and participation outreach interventions for under 16 year olds. Bristol: Office for Students.

    • Harrison, N (2017) Moving on up: care leavers and care-experienced students pathways into and through higher education.. Winchester: National Network for the Education of Care Leavers.

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