Significant knowledge transitions and resituation challenges in becoming a researcher

Margaret Franken (The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

International Journal for Researcher Development

ISSN: 2048-8696

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to document international scholarship students' experience as they studied and planned their research in the linguistically, academically and culturally unfamiliar context of a New Zealand University, but conducted the research in their own culturally and professionally familiar contexts.


This paper uses the concept of resituation developed by Eraut and applies this to the task of appreciating the complexity of the international postgraduate student experience as such students transition from coursework to research work. The paper reports findings from a study in which the researcher worked with international scholarship students from the Pacific, Melanesia and Southeast Asia to frame up a masters research proposal over the period of a semester, and then interviewed them as their research work progressed.


Using Eraut's framework allowed the researcher to explore the ways in which these neophyte researchers needed to resituate the personal knowledge they already possessed, with new knowledge generated from coursework and the research process as it unfolded. Resituation occurred at particular points in the research trajectory and could be seen to represent significant transitions for the students.


Understandings gained from research such as this is crucial if higher education institutions are to engage in internationalisation at a postgraduate level in a way that acknowledges what students bring to the context, how their research experience changes them, and what they may experience when they return to their home countries.



Franken, M. (2013), "Significant knowledge transitions and resituation challenges in becoming a researcher", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 86-102.

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