Research Project Outline

Principal investigator

Dr. Lesley Andres is the principal investigator of the Paths on Life’s Way project. She is a Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia.

Phase I – 1989

The purpose of the initial survey in 1989 was to identify reasons why students chose to continue or not to continue to post-secondary education. Over 5000 members of B.C. Class of ’88 (all high school graduates) responded to this survey questionnaire. In addition, 51 individuals from the 1989 B.C. graduating class took part in two in-depth personal interviews during their high school graduating year.

Phase II – 1993

A second follow-up survey was conducted in 1993. The purpose of the follow-up was to collect longitudinal data to document the education and work patterns and other life experiences of the Class of ’88 during the five year period following high school graduation. Over 2000 individuals responded to this questionnaire. Also, 34 individuals who were interviewed in 1989 and 1990 were re-interviewed.

Phase III – 1997 and 1998

The purpose of the third phase was to develop a long term profile of the educational, work, and life experiences of the Class of ’88. Personal interviews with 32 of the original interviewees were conducted in 1997. In 1998, a 10 year follow-up questionnaire was sent to respondents of Phases I and II. To date, almost 1000 responses have been received.

Phase IV – 2002 and 2003

In Phase IV I carried out interviews with 30 of the original interviewees and have conducted a 15 follow-up of the survey sample. In total, 733 respondents to the survey questionnaires of Phases I and II and III. Comparative analyses with the data from the Australian Life Patterns project resulted in the 2010 book  The Making of a Generation: Children of the 1970s in Adulthood.

Phase V – 2010 and 2011

A fifth follow-up survey was conducted in 2010. The purpose of the follow-up was to collect longitudinal data to continue to document the multiple life spheres of the Class of ’88, 22 years after having graduated from high school. In total, 574 individuals responded to this questionnaire. Also, 25 individuals who have been interviewed since 1989 were re-interviewed in 2011. In this phase, I wrote the book Designing and doing survey research (Sage UK, in press) which features the Paths project from a survey research design perspective.

Phase VI – 2016

A sixth follow-up survey was conducted in 2016.  The 2016 mail out survey response rate was 90%. The 515 individuals who have participated in Phases I to V1 represent a full 3% of the entire graduating cohort and 10% of respondents to the original 1989 survey sample. In comparison, there were 877 respondents from BC to the Cycle 6 (Cohort A) Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) at age 25. Paths on Life’s Way respondents have demonstrated ongoing commitment to this study and despite attrition, the sample has remained very representative.

Phase VII – 2021