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Student self-efficacy narratives: A collaborative co-constructive method


Correspondence: Jan du Preez, PhD, University of Southern Queensland, West Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia. Email:


This article outlines the challenges faced by mature-aged students transitioning to higher education and presents a method of assisting these students to reflect on ways in which they have overcome past difficulties in terms of their self-efficacy. For the purpose of the study, self-efficacy was conceptualised as an individual initiating action to engage in a given task, applying effort to the task, and persisting in the face of obstacles to successfully complete the task. The main aim of the article is to explicate a research method that involves a cyclical and iterative process using qualitative interview data from the population of interest, namely four female mature-aged students starting an undergraduate degree. The method is highly collaborative, with narratives co-constructed by the researcher and participants as they are guided in reflecting on those experiences that constitute a sense of self-efficacy, in narrative and by narrative. The article briefly reports on a research study to illustrate the method and lists the main themes emerging from the narratives. The article concludes with an evaluation by the participants of being involved in the research process, with positive implications for the utility of the method with mature-aged students and possibly other cohorts.