Simona Torotcoi (Central European University), Delia Gologan (University of Bucharest), Anastasia Kurysheva (University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University)
The current paper has two aims. The first aim is to collect, document, scrutinise and critically analyse the current research literature which assesses the effectiveness of different programs, projects, policies and measures for widening access for underrepresented groups in Europe at the higher education institutions level. The second aim is to identify gaps in the literature and make recommendations for both further research and policy makers.
In the first step, we mapped existing research by conducting a preliminary scoping literature search of studies on access policies and programmes for underrepresented student groups. Based on this, the list of search words was refined and exclusion and inclusion criteria for studies were developed.
In the second step, we conducted a systematic search in the largest educational databases (Web of Science and ERIC) for studies, reported in English. The search was conducted using search words related to higher education institutions on one hand (e.g. universities) and underrepresented groups of students on the other hand (e.g. first-generation students). This systematic search and our own knowledge of the relevant studies in the field delivered 17 papers.
The general structure of the paper is as follows: