Complexities and Challenges of Researching Student Completion and Noncompletion of HE Programmes in Europe: a comparative analysis between England and Norway

Liz Thomas, Elisabeth Hovdhaugen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a growing interest in policy research on student completion and noncontinuation and bodies such as the European Commission and OECD are focusing on the subject. There is also increasing national interest in the issue in many countries and they are looking to each other for input on effective policies. However, there are significant social, economic and educational differences between national systems across Europe, making this a very challenging project. The aim of this article is to study challenges and complexities in researching student non-completion of higher educqtion programmes in Europe. We use the case of two contrasting countries — England and Norway — to help to identify some of the differences, challenges and complexities that are relevant when creating an approach for analysis that can be used more widely to explore ‘non-completion’ across different countries in Europe and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Completion
  • International comparative
  • Non-continuation
  • Student drop-out
  • Student retention

Cite this