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Exploring Occupational Aspirations of High School Students with HyperRESEARCH

HyperRESEARCH was the software used to analyze and code the data in the article by Heather T. Rowan-Kenyon, Laura W. Perna and Amy K. Swan titled "Structuring Opportunity: the Role of School Context in Shaping High School Students' Occupational Aspirations" appearing in the June 2011 issue of Career Development Quarterly Publisher (volume 59 Source issue 4).

According to the article, the study "explores the occupational aspirations of high school students planning to attend college by drawing on a multi-layered model of college enrollment, social cognitive theory, and multiple descriptive case studies of 15 high schools." Through case studies of the 15 high schools the study describes how occupational aspirations of the students are shaped by the high school context. The model they used illustrated that the school context is related to the development of occupational aspirations which in turn influences college-going.

The authors conducted focus groups with students and parents and semi structured interviews with teachers and counselors. In total there were 595 participants across the 15 high schools. To analyze the data they created a database that included transcriptions from the focus groups and interviews. They used HyperRESEARCH software to assist in the coding and compiling of data into categories. They were able to develop a preliminary list of deductive codes which they were able to consolidate into themes.

They found the following results: "Reflecting the conceptual framework, our results indicated that school context influences the development of occupational aspirations. In particular, students' occupational aspirations and their understanding of the education required to achieve these aspirations appear to correlate with the resource level of the schools in this study. In turn, the nature of career programming provided by schools also varied by school resource level and participation in state or federally funded career programs, illustrating the ways in which multiple layers of context shape the development of students' career interests as well as their decision making with respect to educational and career choices."

The full article can be accessed here

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