Journal of Advances in Humanities and Social Sciences
Journal ISSN: 2414-3111
Article DOI:
Received: 14 April 2016
Accepted: 14 June 2017
Published: xxxxxx
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  • Qualitative longitudinal research on Lithuanian student migration

Egidija Ramanauskaite, J. Rimas Vaisnys

Published online: 2017


Emigration of ϐirst-rate students is a very signiϐicant form of 'brain drain' for a nation, with serious long-term consequences for cultural, economic, and educational sectors. The purpose of this study is to identify important social factors which inϐluence students in choosing between foreign and Lithuanian universities for a college education. The research used a longitudinal study approach, where the same respondent is repeatedly observed over a number of time instances. A system theory approach was applied for data gathering and analysis. This was done by identifying state and the environmental values and their interactions in terms of which the student's observed behavior can be explained. Data were gathered by observation of students' surrounding at their universities, semi-structured interviews with study participants, and structured questionnaires. Fifty students, some of whom have emigrated for studies in Great Britain and others who have stayed in Lithuania, have been followed by our team for almost ϐive years. The research identiϐied signiϐicant changes with time in the values and importance of variables characterizing the students, ϐinding a greater than anticipated inϐluence of peers and personal contacts on the behavior of the research participants. In contrast, economic considerations seem to have been of less signiϐicance than anticipated in modulating the behavior of both kinds of students. The study has implications for research and practice. The ϐirst is related to an application of a system theory approach to longitudinal social research which results in an in-depth systematic analysis of social processes while searching for causalities in a behavior of the research system (a student in our case). The study makes it possible to understand how the environments could be changed so that students would choose studies at Lithuanian universities or return to Lithuania after graduating. This knowledge may be useful for policy makers at various levels of the education system.