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Table 1 Summary of 12 qualitative findings (SoQF) with their categories and CERQual assessments

From: University students’ representations of Europe and self-identification as Europeans: a synthesis of qualitative evidence for future policy formulation

# Review findingRelevant papersCERQual assessmentExplanation of CERQual assessment
1. Category: European ethos
(a) Multilingualism, cultural diversity and the promotion of human rights are consistently identified as ‘European values’.Du Bois-Reymond [5], Osler [24], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Ros et al. [29], Thorpe [34], Spannring et al. [32], Sperling [33], Udrea [35], Llurda et al. [18]High confidenceNine studies with N/VMC about methodological limitations, coherence, relevance and adequacy.
(b) Perceptions of what it means to be European vary greatly depending on national geopolitical contexts.Du Bois-Reymond [5], Osler [24], Wilkins et al. [40], Sperling [33], Van Mol [3]High confidenceFive studies; minor concerns regarding adequacy due to restricted number of explicit allusions to the topic.
(c) EU institutions are perceived as distant, complex and over-bureaucratized entities.Du Bois-Reymond [5], Fernández [8], Fuss and Grosser [9], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Ros et al. [29]Moderate confidenceFive studies; minor concerns regarding coherence due to inconsistent findings in one study. Moderate concerns regarding methodological limitations due to poor reporting of evidence in one study.
(d) The support for further integration is scarce, especially if candidate countries are culturally divergent.Du Bois-Reymond [5], Licata [17], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Pollmann [26], Spannring et al. [32], Thorpe [34], Llurda et al. [18]Moderate confidenceSeven studies; moderate concerns regarding coherence due to conflicting findings in one of the studies and somewhat incoherent findings in another study.
2. Category: Self-identification
(e) Self-identification of students is compatible with the ‘nested identities’ theory. Students negotiate local, regional, national and supranational identities.Osler [24], Licata [17], Fuss and Grosser [9], Erling [7], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Pollman [26], Thorpe [34], Udrea [35], Genova [10], Byram et al. [1]High confidenceEleven studies; minor concerns regarding coherence due to context-dependent contradictory findings in one of the studies.
(f) The prevalence of national identities in students’ minds is closely linked to affective factors.Osler [24], Erling [7], Fuss and Grosser [9], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Pollmann [26], Ros et al. [29], Spannring et al. [32], Udrea [35]High confidenceEight studies; minor concerns regarding coherence due contradictory findings in one of the studies but restricted to a specific subgroup of population.
3. Category: Predictors of endorsement and opposition
(g) Support for the EU is rooted on instrumental / utilitarian motivations.Osler [24], Licata [17], Fernández [8], Fuss and Grosser [9], Thorpe [34], Sperling [33], Udrea [35], Byram et al. [1]High confidenceNine studies; minor concerns regarding methodological limitations due to poor reporting of evidence in one study.
(h) Speaking foreign languages favours identification with supranational identities and Europe.Fuss and Grosser [9], Erling [7], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Spannring et al. [32], Thorpe [34], Byram et al. [1]High confidenceSix studies; minor concerns regarding coherence due to contradictory findings in one study.
(i) National or cultural identity loss is the biggest perceived threat of endorsing a European identity.Du Bois-Reymond [5], Licata [17], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Spannring et al. [32]Moderate confidenceFour studies; minor concerns regarding coherence due to contradictory findings in one study and moderate concerns regarding adequacy due to limited number of contributing studies.
4. Category: Foreign country experiences
(j) Academic sojourns have a positive impact on students’ support for the EU.Osler [24], Udrea [35], Van Mol [3], Hadfield and Summerby-Murray [12], Genova [10], Llurda et al. [18]Moderate confidenceSix studies; moderate concerns about coherence due to contradictory findings in three of the studies.
(k) Exposure through leisure or spontaneous travel to Europe facilitates students’ European identification.Fuss and Grosser [9], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Spannring et al. [32], Thorpe [34]Moderate confidenceFour studies; minor concerns about coherence because of contradictory findings in one of the studies and moderate concerns regarding adequacy due to limited number of contributing studies.
(l) Intentional pedagogic interventions are desirable to raise European awareness.Osler [24], Grundy and Jamieson [11], Spannring et al. [32], Thorpe [34], Wilkins et al. [40], Van Mol [3], Hadfield and Summerby-Murray [12]High confidenceSeven studies; moderate concerns regarding methodological limitations due to poor reporting from one study on collected evidence.
  1. N/VMC no or very minor concerns