Merridy Wilson-Strydom

Funder: National Research Foundation (NRF) Thuthuka Grant Number: 87922

Project aim
The aim of this study is thus to understand the lives and wellbeing of a group of 40 undergraduate students enrolled at the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus, who attended township high schools. The study has a particular focus on identifying institutional practices that either enable or constrain students’ capabilities for success in undergraduate study.


  1. To document students' lives over a three-year period using narrative methodologies

  2. To assess the extent to which the capabilities list for the transition to university can be applied as a capabilities list for success in undergraduate study

  3. To identify institutional conditions and practices that enable or constrain students' well-being and capabilities for success

  4. To develop a new theorisation of student success from a capabilities perspective

  5. To prepare an open access e-book in which participating students share and reflect on their experiences as undergraduate students (with a focus on capabilities for success)

While the primary data collection method is a series of in-depth narrative interviews, conducted annually over three to six years, the project also has a significant participatory research component. A range of participatory methods are being used, including visual methods, river of life, photo voice, and participatory video.

Enabling success