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Paper Structures

Past Projects


Positive impact?

Funded by the Unite Foundation (2018-2020)

I was a Co-Investigator on the Positive Impact? project (PI: Jacqueline Stevenson, The University of Leeds). The project explored the factors that affect access, retention and outcomes for university students with a background of care or family estrangement. 

Baker, Z., Harrison, N., Stevenson, J. & Wakeling, P. (2021) Patterns of postgraduate transitions amongst care-experienced graduates in the United Kingdom. Cambridge Journal of Education, 52(3): 349-368.

'Exploring support for care-experienced students in English higher education using the 'capabilities approach'' Spoken presentation at EUSARF Conference XVI - "The Perspective of the Child" (2021) held online.

Harrison, N., Baker, Z. & Stevenson, J. (2020) Employment and further study outcomes for care-experienced graduates in the UK. Higher Education, 83: 357-378. 

Stevenson, J., Baker, Z., Harrison, N., Bland, B., Jones-Devitt, S., Donnelly, A., Pickering, N. & Austen, L. (2020) Positive impact? What factors affect access, retention and graduate outcomes for university students with a background of care or family estrangement? Bristol: The Unite Foundation.

'Graduate employment and postgraduate study outcomes for care-experienced students' Spoken presentation at the SRHE Annual Conference (2019) held at Celtic Manor, Wales.

Exploring the experiences of 'equivalent qualification' students in higher education

The University of Sheffield (2017-2018)

While working as a Researcher in the Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit (WPREU) at The University of Sheffield, I led the qualitative strand of a HEFCE funded project which explored the academic experiences of Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification holders in higher education. The research paid particular attention to institutional cultures and feelings of 'belonging'.


Baker, Z. (2018) Evaluation of the student experience. In M. A. Meselmani, Z. Baker, A. Basi, E. Broglla, A. Sutherland-Jarvest & L. Towers Finding potential: How a selective university can attract and retain high quality students with equivalent qualifications to A-levels. Sheffield: The University of Sheffield. pp. 48-56. 

Crockford, C., Baker, Z., Brown, G., Hordosy, R., Linskill, S. & Miller, M. (2018) Five years of WPREU: Critical reflections on evaluation, policy and practice in widening participation and student success. Sheffield: The Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit.

'Making their way': The Higher Education decision-making and choices of underrepresented Further Education students in England

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentship (2013-2017)

My ESRC funded PhD (undertaken in the School of Education at The University of Sheffield) explored socio-economically underrepresented Further Education students' Higher Education decision-making and choices using a qualitative, longitudinal narrative inquiry approach.


Baker, Z. (2021) Young people engaging in event-based diaries: A reflection on the value of diary methods in Higher Education decision-making research. Qualitative Research.

Baker, Z. (2021) Reactivity, rationality, emotion and self-protection: Critical reflections on the use and potential of diaries in Higher Education choice and decision-making research. In: X. Cao & E. F. Henderson (eds) Diary methods in Higher Education research. London: Routledge. pp. 102-114.

Baker, Z. (2020) The vocational/academic divide in widening participation: The Higher Education decision-making of Further Education students. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(6): 766-780.

Baker, Z. (2019) Priced out: The renegotiation of aspirations and individualised HE ‘choices’ in England. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 28(3-4): 299-325.

Baker, Z. (2019) Reflexivity, structure and agency: Using reflexivity to understand FE students’ HE decision-making and choices. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40(1): 1-16.

Zoe Baker speaking at Positive Impact report launch.
Positive impact report.PNG
finding potential report.PNG
Five years of WPREU cover.PNG
Zoe Baker PhD Graduation
Cover of Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education research
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