A golden gate to open, a drawbridge closed behind. Using Storytelling to explain the higher education learning journey

This research story paper wishes to put forward the possibility of using an alternative method of presenting research than the more traditional academic language that many students find challenging (Collier, 1995). The research story that is told here is the higher education journey that many students within Ireland undertake. Using the ideas of the “Hero’s Story” (Campbell’s work) and metaphor, which provide a link between the private and often idiosyncratic world of ‘felt-reality’ and the propositional world of theories and constructs in which most academic and professional discourses are conducted (Hunt, 2006, p315), this research informed story will tell their lived reality.
In an endeavour to make the story recognisable and understood to today’s students, the plot used is reflective of two of the seven “Basic Plots”: the “Rags to Riches”, and the “Quest” (Booker 2014). It creates a modern-day fairy tale which is interwoven and underpinned by evidence. Consequently, it sets the scene using metaphors, as characters of familiarity move and weaves through this space. The research story examines this journey with a specific focus on female participation in education within this Higher Education Kingdom.

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