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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2019

Michelle A. Maher, Annie M. Wofford, Josipa Roksa and David F. Feldon

The purpose of this study is to explore the experience of selecting and engaging in biological sciences laboratory rotations from the perspective of doctoral students.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the experience of selecting and engaging in biological sciences laboratory rotations from the perspective of doctoral students.

Design/methodology/approach

Within the socialization framework, this study uses a qualitative approach whereby 42 biological sciences students enrolled at highly selective US universities were interviewed in the first and second year of doctoral training about laboratory rotation experiences.

Findings

The study revealed how doctoral students used formal and informal information networks, explored research topics, struggled with funding concerns and learned about the social aspect of the laboratories in which they rotated.

Originality/value

While rotations are considered a signature pedagogy in the laboratory sciences, students’ experiences within them are understudied. This study offers new knowledge about what doctoral students experience while rotating that can be used to inform and improve rotation processes for both students and universities.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2020

Jennifer M. Blaney, Jina Kang, Annie M. Wofford and David F. Feldon

This study aims to examine how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics doctoral students interact with postdocs within the research laboratory, identifying the…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics doctoral students interact with postdocs within the research laboratory, identifying the nature and potential impacts of student–postdoc mentoring relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 53 doctoral students in the biological sciences, this study uses a sequential mixed-methods design. More specifically, a phenomenological approach enabled the authors to identify how doctoral students make meaning of their interactions with postdocs and other research staff. Descriptive statistics are used to examine how emergent themes might differ as a product of gender and race/ethnicity and the extent to which emergent themes may relate to key doctoral student socialization outcomes.

Findings

This study reveals six emergent themes, which primarily focus on how doctoral students receive instrumental and psychosocial support from postdocs in their labs. The most frequent emergent theme captures the unique ways in which postdocs provide ongoing, hands-on support and troubleshooting at the lab bench. When examining how this theme plays a role in socialization outcomes, the results suggest that doctoral students who described this type of support from postdocs had more positive mental health outcomes than those who did not describe this type of hands-on support.

Originality/value

Literature on graduate student mentorship has focused primarily on the impact of advisors, despite recent empirical evidence of a “cascading mentorship” model, in which senior students and staff also play a key mentoring role. This study provides new insights into the unique mentoring role of postdocs, focusing on the nature and potential impacts of student–postdoc interactions.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Annie Goudeaux and Germain Poizat

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the professional activity development of prop makers. These professionals are responsible for creating a huge variety of objects…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the professional activity development of prop makers. These professionals are responsible for creating a huge variety of objects for the stage, ranging from furniture and soft furnishings to weapons, statues, jewelry and animated models. A feature of the work is to create objects that are new almost every time. In Western Switzerland, there is neither initial training nor continuing education for the profession of prop maker. Therefore the aim of this study is to better understand the professional practices and informal learning of prop makers at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Design/methodology/approach

Given their interest in the details of how work is learned and carried out, the authors used ethnographic methods to study the prop makers' working practices. These methods place an emphasis on the detailed observation of practices through intensive, long-term involvement. The fieldwork began in November 2005 and ended in May 2007. This period was organized into three phases articulating direct observation and participant observation. The data were processed according to the methodology of grounded theory. Theoretical sensitivity came from a number of sources; however, French-speaking ergonomics, and particularly the course-of-action theoretical framework, have largely determined our conception of activity and workplace learning.

Findings

The results allowed the authors to identify the core of a substantive theory of prop makers' activity and self-construction. Three components formed the core of this theory: conservation, invention, and distribution (CID). These three components are essential to understanding how prop makers are able to achieve, maintain and develop professional expertise both individually and collectively in the near total absence of initial and ongoing training and in a context of constant demand for high technical performance.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the limitations of this study and the need for caution, the study seems to have two main implications. First, it leads to the reaxamination of the concept of informal learning and to assume the self-constructive dimension of activity. Second, it encourages studies to question the triple developmental process: technical, individual, and collective. Further studies are needed to better understand the triple process of individuation (technical, individual and collective) that operates in work situations and to test the heuristic power of this notion to account for learning and development in the workplace.

Originality/value

The originality of this work is to address the issue of professional development in relation to the work of Simondon Gilbert on technical invention and his theory of individuation.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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