Goal of research: to analyze typical educational and career trajectories as well as cultural structures and factors influencing them
Methodology: This comprehensive longitudinal study includes regular waves of data collection with respondents and in-depth interviews with 1-2% of panel participants.
Quantitative questionnaires capture aspects of respondents' trajectories in education, career, and family. In-depth interviews are aimed to collect more detailed and in-depth information about the mechanisms of educational and professional choice, and symbolic structures.
Interviews are transcribed, thematic coding is conducted, interviews are analyzed using the methods of interpretive analysis.
Empirical base of research: Trajectories in Education and Careers’ (TrEC) is a longitudinal project that has been undertaken at the Institute of Education of the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) since 2009. Its purpose is to study how the educational and professional pathways of youth are shaped in modern Russia. The project has multi-cohort elements; it includes the main nationally representative panel and several regional panels. The national panel is a longitudinal follow-up with the participants of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in Russia, who were eighth grade students in 2011 and have been interviewed yearly since then.
It has also been supplemented with qualitative data.
Results of research:
In 2018, the seventh wave of the national panel has been conducted. The main feature of research methodology is a combination of data collection methods. Measures aiming to maintain the panel are also used such as using social networks to establish contacts with respondents, assigning permanent interviewers to respondents.
Typical educational and professional trajectories during 5 years after 9th grade completion are identified using the method of sequence analysis. The main factors associated with the formation of trajectories are identified. Trajectories of higher education are analyzed separately in the context of social inequality. Such parameters as the prestige of the university, training free-of-charge and full-time, mobility, and choice of specialty are examined. Using the analysis of latent classes, four clusters of students (“commercial”, “provincials”, “mobile”, “and stationary”) were identified.
The symbolic structures that influence choice of secondary vocational education are analyzed based on cultural sociology resources. The empirical base of the analysis are 22 cases (in-depth interviews).
Mixed-method approach is also used to investigate mechanism of educational choice. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data on the transition after the 9th grade allowed studying the mechanisms of educational choice at this stage and formulating recommendations to support educational choice and vocational guidance of students.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
Methodology expertise can be used when planning longitudinal projects.
The information base of the national panel is recommended for researchers of sociology and economics of education.
The results of the analysis can be used for developing social policies, in particular for the development of support programs for educational choice of students.