‘Hot’, ‘cold’ and ‘warm’ information and higher education decision-making.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This paper draws on the notions of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ knowledge in analysing
the responses of students to the relevance of different information
and sources of such information in university choice. Analysis of questionnaire
and focus group data from prospective and first-year undergraduate
students provides evidence that many students put most
credence on ‘hot’ knowledge, from persons in their social grapevine.
However, this is supplemented by ‘warm’ knowledge from fleeting
acquaintances at university open days. University provided knowledge is
often distrusted. We discuss the implications of this given the recent
government emphasis in England on the role of information provision in
helping students to make informed decisions, including the relevance to
the ‘fair access’ agenda.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-223
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • decision-making, higher education, university choice