Undertaking the personal tutoring role with sports students at a United Kingdom university

Rick Hayman*, Andy Coyles, Karl Wharton, Erika Borkoles, Remco C. J. Polman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Personal tutoring is renowned for the positive role it can play in supporting student satisfaction, engagement and attainment outcomes in higher education. Surprisingly though, few studies have specifically investigated the demands of this role from the perspective of the personal tutor. Through the theoretical lens of Role Theory, this study explored university tutors’ experiences of their personal tutoring role within a sport educational setting at a United Kingdom university. All data was collected through face-to-face semi structured qualitative interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. Key findings were the negative impact of personal tutoring on participants role multiplicity, intra-role accumulation and role identity. Most participants viewed the role as being time consuming, emotionally challenging and one they would prefer not to undertake (role multiplicity), feeling under qualified and ill-equipped in assisting their tutees because of the increasingly serious and complex nature of non-academic related issues presented (intra-role accumulation). Several lacked confidence and interest in the role, finding it to be stressful and instead favouring greater research responsibilities within their workloads (role identity). The collective findings provide academic colleagues and senior university management teams with evidence to inform future institutional policies and practices. This will help ensure personal tutors working across multiple disciplines and academic levels fully understand what the role is, the demands they are likely to encounter, the continued professional development required to facilitate and support the role and how the role should be better recognised in academic promotion criteria. Study limitations and future research avenues are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2023


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