The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 52

Chris Heasley * Katie Boone * Denise L. Davidson

Students indicated that they often
lacked the desire to create a sense
of community with new residents
outside of their existing peer
network, a cohort often comprising
individuals they met in their firstyear residence hall.
factors related to levels of SOC.
A multiple case study framework served as a
qualitative research design. Case studies "investigate a contemporary phenomenon within its
real-life context, especially when the boundaries
between the phenomenon and context are not
clearly evident" (Yin, 2017, p. 15). Use of case
study design was supported in two ways. First,
the research team believed that the context of
private or college-owned building ownership
and management might be relevant to a resident's sense of community, a condition which
takes place in a real-life setting. Second, case
study design supports a research practice that
attempts to clarify the relationship between contextual conditions and the phenomenon being
studied, for which mere quantitative evaluation
would not prove adequate (Yin, 2017).

Procedure
Three criteria were used to screen potential
sites for study participation, thereby ensuring proper comparative analysis. First, both
campus residences and P3-owned, developed,
and managed student housing had to be situated on the campus proper. Second, P3 properties and campus residences had to offer the
same type of floor plan (e.g., suites, double
52

Students' Sense of Community

rooms, apartments). Finally, properties had
to house students with similar academic class
status (i.e., sophomores, juniors, and seniors).
After screening for these criteria and reaching
out to potential research sites, participation
was secured from two institutions and a single
associated P3 developer.
"Western University" is a large public
university located in a suburban setting. This
school has an undergraduate population of
25,000+ students and 13,900 residents, which
includes more than 5,000 in P3 accommodations. "Eastern University" is a mid-sized
private urban institution with more than
15,500 undergraduate students, including
3,300 residents in campus residences and approximately 3,000 in P3 housing. Both universities are categorized as Research I-intensive
schools (The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, n.d.).
In the spring of 2017, following Institutional Review Board approval, students living
in either a campus residence or P3 on each
campus were emailed a Qualtrics survey link
from the institution's residence life office with
an invitation to participate. Data gathered by
the survey included bio-demographic information and measurement for SOC across all
elements of the construct (i.e., membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and
shared emotional connection). Of 751 submitted
surveys, 539 usable responses were included
in quantitative analysis. To ensure comparison
of like samples, surveys submitted by first-year
students were omitted, as only second-year and
other upper-division students resided in P3 facilities at both institutions. Responses from
participants living in similar housing types
(i.e., university or P3-managed) were combined for comparative analysis.

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING

Participants

Purposive selection of typical cases was most
appropriate for the qualitative element of this
study (Coyne, 1997). This sampling selection includes participants who can provide the most information about the phenomenon under study
(Coyne, 1997). All quantitative survey participants were invited to engage in the focus group
portion of the study. From these volunteers, the
researchers selected 12 students. Efforts were
made to ensure representation for differences
in gender, race, ethnicity, and housing type. Two
focus groups occurred at Western University
and one at Eastern University.

Participants provided demographic information
in addition to survey responses (see Table 2).
The majority of survey respondents lived in P3
housing (77.4%, n = 417). The largest percentage reported sophomore class standing (50.6%,
n = 273), a mean age of 19.9 years (SD = 0.82),
and identified themselves as Asian (44.9%, n =
242) and as women (64.0%, n = 345).
Eight women and four men participated
in the focus groups. All participants held an
academic status as a second-year student or

	 Table 2
	 Demographics by Housing Type
	 	 Demographic	
		
	
	

Campus residence	
n
%	

P3 housing	
n
%	

Housing type							
22.6
1	22
417

Aggregate
n 	

%

	77.4

539

100

Enrollment status/class
		 Sophomore

	89

	16.5

184

	34.1

273

	50.6

		 Junior

	27

	5.0

134

	24.9

161

	29.9

		 Senior

	6

	1.1

95

	17.6

101

	18.7

		 Missing

	0

	0.0

4

	0.8

4

	0.8

		 Asian

	47

	8.7

195

	36.2

242

	44.9

		 Caucasian/White

	51

	9.5

141

	26.1

192

	35.6

		 Multi-racial

	6

	1.1

26

	4.8

32

	5.9

		 African American/Black

	5

	0.9

15

	2.8

20

	3.7

		 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

	0

	0.0

4

	0.7

4

	0.7

		 American Indian/Alaska Native

	1

	0.2

	2

	0.4

3

	0.6

		 Missing

	12

	2.2

	34

	6.3

46

	8.5

Gender

	

		 Women

	69

	12.8

276

	51.2

345

	64.0

		 Men

	48

	8.9

129

	23.9

177

	32.8

		 Transgender

	1

	0.2

	2

	0.4

3

	0.6

		 Other

	1

	0.2

	1

	0.2

2

	0.4

		 Missing

	3

	0.5

	9

	 1.7

12

	2.2

Ethnicity

	

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Intro
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