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Academic and Professional Knowledge in the Professional Doctorate

Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate

ISBN: 978-1-78441-132-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-131-2

Publication date: 31 October 2014


This is a conceptual paper. I argue that knowledge-construction, or learning in a profession, has changed with the introduction of professional doctorates, though the divide between these new forms of doctoral study and the older and more established forms such as the PhD are now not as wide as they once were. In particular, three elements of the knowledge-construction process are implicated here. The first of these is a move towards learning environments which prioritise situated-theoretical applications of the theory-practice relationship at the expense of technical-empiricist, technical-rational, multi-methodological and multi-discursive variants. The second is movement towards different sites of learning, so that instead of the knowledge-construction process taking place exclusively in universities or institutes of higher education, the workplace is now central to the construction of learning environments. And the third is the development of new types of knowledge-construction, and these are now acting to reframe relationships between the professions and the state. This has resulted in forms of deprofessionalisation, with some professions in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world experiencing significant losses of autonomy and independence in relation to ownership of their specialized bodies of knowledge and skills, control of the means for credentialising these bodies of knowledge, and renegotiated professional mandates, leading to restrictions on their capacity to determine for themselves these specialized bodies of knowledge and those learning environments in which practitioners acquire them.



Scott, D. (2014), "Academic and Professional Knowledge in the Professional Doctorate", Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 17-30.



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