Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Friendship of University Students: Qualitative Account Essay

Words: 1911
Pages: 4

Cite This Essay

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Previous research within this field have found discrepancies on what factors are truly important to university friendships. They have found proximity appears to be the most consistent factor contributing to friendships forming, however, in regard to emotional support and depth within friendships there has been inconsistent findings. The purpose of this study is to identify the key, important components of friendship among university students through thematic analysis of two semi-structured interviews. Analysis suggests that the ability to express your true self within your friendships at university not only strengthens the bond formed but makes them stand out as closer than any other friendships. This allows for a deeper connection between individuals as they learn about the true natures and behaviors of those, they consider friends. The implications of this study would be the ability to help give some advice on how to approach making new friends when transitioning into university.

Literature Review

Many modern studies regarding friendship have been in relation to the wider context. Such as Giddens (1992) who expressed a new rise in bonds referring to them as ‘pure relationships’. Within this he suggested that relationships only lasted if mutual benefits occurred which had the ability satisfy both individuals, Giddens beliefs (as cited in Brooks, 2007) have emphasis on the need for emotional communication and disclosure. This area of research into modern relations has a large gap when regarding newly emerging adult relationships, such as university friendships, allowing new scope for this qualitative research. Although some studies have tried to find how university friendships fall into this newly emerging idea of how friendships are formed, it has been found to not be as applicable (Brooks, 2007). Brooks found the predominant factor impacting university friendships was context dependent. He found that although other factors, such as, proximity and claimed emotional support were present, the majority of the students had highly context dependent relationships which did not adhere to the original ‘pure relationships’ structure. A further study (Heath and Cleaver, 2003) found a partially different result when studying student housing. Although in agreement over the impact of proximity they found that university friendships have a larger importance compared to past friendships they would have formed. They explained how this new close proximity with friends results in a deeper connection as it would be the first time living with those not in their immediate family. This study suggests there is a need to study this area of what is truly important for university friendships as there appears to be discrepancies within previous research. By studying this area to find a more conclusive answer to what is important within university friendships it can help guide new and more successful prevention strategies to help with student loneliness and isolation. The success of prevention strategies within university dorms has been discussed within Fondacaro et al. (1984) which found that the administration within dorms is widely successful in increasing student wellbeing and decreasing student loneliness. It showed how the development of friendship networks allow for reducing isolation from living in new dorms.


Theorizing the Production of Knowledge

The researcher holds a critical realism viewpoint as they believe there is a universal reality which you can gain insight on through participants personal and subjective accounts. This would be applied to the research through how they link the participants realities together. The researcher holds a positivism epistemology viewpoint which means they believe you can access true human behavior through research. This means they would see the data collected through the interviews as the participants true reality.

Participants and Recruitment

Two female participants were selected through opportunity sampling; they were recruited through email invitations. They had to be university students and so both fall within the age range of 19-22. As this is a qualitive account a sample size of two was selected to ensure rich data could be collected which would represent as close to the participants true reality.

Data Collection

A semi-structured interview, which consisted of 9 questions, was chosen for the data collection. This was so the researcher could have the ability to ask further questions. It ensured key details were elaborated on, allowing in depth accounts to be collected in ways which the questions would not have originally anticipated. As Bjørnholt and Farstad (2012) explains a semi-structured interview can result in “the production of rich data, including observational data”. The interview was conducted online using zoom in order to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions.

Data Analysis

A thematic analysis was chosen for the data collected from the interviews. A thematic analysis was most suited for the data as it allows for interpretation of themes beyond the immediate experience of the participants (Guest et al., 1963). This was completed through 5 phases (Braun and Clark, 2006). Phase 1 was completed both through handwritten work and digital transcription, as the researcher identified codes through highlighting documents but digitally annotated the initial codes. The second phase was listing the codes the researcher had identified, this was listed digitally alongside generated definitions. Once a list was formulated it allowed for phase three where the researcher mapped out the codes with how they linked together forming themes. These themes were then condensed and mapped out with their corresponding codes and quotations. Both phase three and four were completed by hand.


Informed consent was collected and recorded before the interview progressed, the participant had an information pack about the study 24 hours before it began to ensure a full understanding. As the data was recorded to it was password protected and deleted within 7 days. To reduce any possibility of causing harm the participants were debriefed and directed towards wellbeing support if they felt it was needed.


As I am a university student who is friends with both participants it gives me first-hand experience of what they discussed within their interviews. The result of this could be limiting as it may change how comfortable each participant was sharing their answers within the interview, especially as the topic would involve, in some ways, discussing my involvement with them and how they view our friendship. Similarly, this factor may have caused changes in stories or reflections as they are having to describe them to someone they will see again and who may know who they are talking about. As the researcher, knowing the participants did add a level of discomfort especially when discussing the hindrances within their university friendships. However, I feel this did have a positive impact at they would have felt more comfortable within the interview and as a result more likely to share parts of themselves or their friendships which they may not have with a stranger. This would have allowed me to have a more accurate and detailed analysis.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order


Theme: True Self Within University Friendships

The theme of true self is reflected in each participants accounts as they discuss how their stronger bonds within university are due to feeling more themselves around certain individuals. This importance of showing your true behavior was discussed as the distinguishing factor between friendships formed due to convenience and friendships formed through choice. It was described as what made friendships have more trust.

“Other friends are more chosen, so you get a lot closer with them as you can act how you would normally act alone or with old school friends with them. When you have to go out of your way to make friends it forces you find people you relate to on a deeper level”.

The main factor discussed by Penelope is how they have the ability to act their true self around their closer university friends which can be seen within “act how you would normally act alone”. This ability to act how you would alone suggest there is a lack of judgement from them removing the issue of covering or hiding parts of yourself resulting in a closer and more solid friendship forming. The phrasing used not only shows how it is their true self they are sharing but also how this is an important factor they aspire to have to allow a deeper connection. This is presented as a new hindrance they have faced since going to university which was not seen as an issue, they had within old school friendships. This can be seen in how acting the way they would with “old school friends” is linked as the same as “how you would normally act alone”.

Subtheme: Depth Within University Friendships

The subtheme of depth corresponds with how exposing your true self allows for your friends to understand parts of you which you would not usually show. It is the transition from knowing lots of different parts of a person (breadth) to knowing more key details about the personal aspects of their life.

“Someone in my flat tells me about parts of their family life which are private, this makes me feel closer to them as I feel I can share similar experiences of my own”.

Participant one’s quote explains how to share your true self you need to expose deeper parts, “which are private”. This increase in depth within the friendship would cause the bonds to be stronger as each individual understands the other to a greater level as shown by “I feel I can share similar experiences of my own”, this allows for a unique vulnerability of self which creates a closeness you would not experience with all friendship.


The most important factor found within university friendships was the ability to show you true self and express deepness that you would not show to anyone. Coinciding with a secondary theme found of proximity, these factors could be viewed as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic as students are encouraged to solely socialize with those in their accommodation who will see them in more private states. As a result, this would cause a deeper more personal connection to form. Similarly, only socializing with those you live with would cause less academic basis for friendship and more emotional factors to be involved. This finding supports previous work on the maintenance of modern friendships being dependent on disclosure and openness (Giddens, 1992) as it shows how mutual benefits of emotional communication are essential for a modern friendship. The implication of this research is the ability to reinforce what has been found by previous researchers as the findings are conclusive with theirs. Together with previous research it can allow for a basis on where to begin when forming intervention help or guides for those transitioning into university, so they have more of an understanding on how to seek new friendship.


The key limitation within this research was that the participants were both university students who transitioned during the Covid-19 period giving them, theoretically, an entirely unique experience of forming friendship. This would mean the analysis found would be less applicable to generalize to all university students and as a result the data collected has a less impactful meaning when answering the research question. Additionally, a further limitation is the focus on the maintenance of friendships opposed to the formation. This leaves a gap in the understanding of what is important in university friendships and indicates a flaw in the methodology.

Suggestions for Future Research

Future research into this area should involve investigating how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted students’ abilities to form and maintain friendships. As this is a newly emerging, modern issue it would be a unique area to discover how it may have shaped and changed how the students view what is important within their own friendships. This topic was briefly discussed within the interviews but not to enough depth to consider.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Friendship of University Students: Qualitative Account Essay. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from
“Friendship of University Students: Qualitative Account Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Friendship of University Students: Qualitative Account Essay. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Jun. 2023].
Friendship of University Students: Qualitative Account Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Jun 8]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.