Book by Jean Henscheid & Jennifer Keup
Review by: Michael J. Magee
Academic Advisor
Political Science - College of Arts & Sciences
University of South Florida

The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience, housed at the University of South Carolina, is one of the leading organizations dedicated to the study of students in transition. Their annual conferences are highly successful in providing cutting edge research and best practices while attracting higher education professionals from institutions around the globe. The organization also regularly publishes books, articles and newsletters in a myriad of publications that are useful to all who work in higher education, not just academic advisors.

This book is an interesting, yet quick read with five chapters focusing on: 1) the Research Question; 2) Methodology; 3) Qualitative Research; 4) Quantitative Research; and 5) Publishing Results. In my opinion, Henscheid and Keup have a published a book that is a must-have for any professionals interested in learning more about research practices or who possess a burgeoning interest in conducting student research. In addition, I would recommend this text as an excellent companion for graduate students to pair with any course in a student affairs/higher education curriculum or with their education research or statistics courses. The authors summarize this sentiment well in the books preface “…neither a doctorate nor intimate understanding of critical theory nor advanced knowledge of statistical software packages are necessary to conduct research on the transition experiences of college students” (Henscheid & Keup, 2011, p. ix).

Chapter 1 discusses framing a research question or topic one may have an interest in learning more about. The preface and first chapter are the most informative and applicable to all employees in higher education. This chapter sets the tone of the book by providing strategies that empower one to transform a curiosity into a viable research question. The middle chapters discuss research methods and how to determine which (quantitative vs. qualitative) would be the most effective for your study. The final chapter is critical as it provides insight into the publication process of academic journals. This can also help an academic advisor when submitting presentation proposals for conferences, such as NACADA’s annual academic advising conference.

As a doctoral student, I can attest that the book provided me with a better understanding of statistical analysis and how to develop a research idea into a publishable paper. This book can help alleviate any issues one may have by providing research in a simpler framework that anyone regardless of education and research experience can understand and implement.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all advisors and wholeheartedly believe it should be added to their bookshelves. I can attest to how this book can assist fellow advisors and graduate students in constructing a stronger research study related to students in transition. In terms of recommending specific academic advising populations that this book can be most useful to, it actually can be applied to every area under the academic advising umbrella. Students are always in transition. Whether it is them moving from high school to college, changing majors with a college, becoming admitted to a limited access program or transferring institutions. There is an abundance of possibilities where students will be considered “in transition”.

Crafting and Conducting Research on Student Transitions. (2011). Book by Jean Henscheid & Jennifer Keup. Review by: Michael J. Magee. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience. 138 pp., $20.00 (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-889271-78-1

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