Importance of Sense of Place and Sense of Self in Residence Hall Room Design: A Qualitative Study of First-Year Students
Author(s): Clemons, S. A., McKelfresh, D., & Banning, J.
Citation: Clemons, S. A., McKelfresh, D., & Banning, J. (2005). Importance of Sense of Place and Sense of Self in Residence Hall Room Design: A Qualitative Study of First-Year Students. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 17(2), 73-86.
For years, researchers have often summarized their work with the assessment that "If students feel at ‘home’ on campus, they are less likely to leave." The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover how students express their sense of place and sense of self in their residence hall rooms — how it becomes their "home." Focus groups and open-ended surveys were employed to gather qualitative data from a group of first-year students living in residence halls. Based on an inductive qualitative analysis, several themes were identified. These included that personalization of their room was important to the students, that students have myriad ideas about how to re-design their rooms, and that students often find both the physical and policy environment of the residence hall a deterrent to self-expression. Implications are discussed.