Selma Dogan has served as an English language tutor in higher education institutions in Turkey and the UK for many years. She has organised workshops on teaching essays to undergraduate students and presented various academic research papers at international conferences. She holds an MA in American studies from Istanbul University, Turkey and recently completed an MSc in social sciences research methods at Cardiff University, UK. She is currently a PhD researcher at Cardiff University exploring the transitional barriers for ‘non-traditional students’ to the first year of undergraduate study. She firmly believes that the ‘what works’ agenda in educational research can be fulfilled conducting research through the lenses of the participants. Research that relies on in-depth interviews practiced as part of a mixed methods approach can facilitate our understanding of the non-observables and complexity of social reality.