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’.

His current focus is on the educational pathways and experiences of young people in and around children’s social care system, with a particular emphasis on transitions into adulthood through entry into further education, higher education or the labour market.  He is also leading a five-year study into the impact of attachment and trauma awareness training across 300 schools in England.

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, a trustee of the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers, a member of the editorial board for the British Educational Research Journal and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

You can find out more about Neil’s work through his personal webpage.

Funded Research Projects:

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

  • November 2018 - February 2020

    Unite Foundation

  • Care Leavers' Transition into the Labour Market in England

  • March 2019 - June 2021

    Nuffield Foundation

  • Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Awareness in Schools Programme

  • July 2017 – June 2022

    Alex Timpson Trust

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

Publications:

  • 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

    • Carter, S, Smith, K, Harrison, N (2021) “Working in the borderlands: critical perspectives on doctoral education”, Teaching in Higher Education. 26(3) 283-292.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1911098

    • Harrison, N, Baker, Z, Stevenson, J (2020) “Employment and further study outcomes for care-experienced graduates in the UK”, Higher Education. 0 1-22.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-020-00660-w

    • HARRISON, N (2019) “Patterns of participation in higher education for care-experienced students in England: why has there not been more progress?”, Studies in Higher Education. 45(9) 1986-1986.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582014

    • 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

    • Bovill, H, Harrison, N, Smith, H, Bennett, V, McKenzie, L (2019) “Mature female learners activating agency after completion of an education foundation degree: professional progression and the teacher shortage crisis”, Research Papers in Education.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2019.1633565

    • Harrison, N (2019) “Students-as-insurers: rethinking 'risk' for disadvantaged young people considering higher education in England”, Journal of Youth Studies. 22(6) 752-771.
      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) 209-209.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100209

    • 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, 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, 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

    • 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, 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, 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

    • 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 (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, 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, 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

    • 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, 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

    • 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, 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

    • 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, Hatt, S (2009) “Knowing the ‘unknowns’: Investigating the students whose social class is not known at entry to higher education”, Journal of Further and Higher Education. 33(4) 347-357.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03098770903266042

    • 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

  • 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.

Follow Us