Accessibility and Mobilisation of Social Capital in First-Generation Students’ Social Networks—A Mixed-Methods Approach

Wittner et al. / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / December 2020

old photo four college students

Social support is a crucial factor for first-generation students’ (FGS) integration at university and their educational success. FGS are often assumed to lack social support and integration, but research shows mixed results. By means of a mixed-methods approach (combination of interviews and online survey), researchers aimed to shed light on the characteristics in FGS social networks that classify them as high-quality networks in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the structure and setup of the social contexts from which FGS receive support. Using these characteristics, the researchers constructed types of socially supported students and related them to academic success.