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Article
Publication date: 17 May 2013

Alistair McCulloch

The paper seeks to propose the adoption of an alternative metaphor to that of the “journey”, currently the most pervasive characterisation for the student's experience of…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to propose the adoption of an alternative metaphor to that of the “journey”, currently the most pervasive characterisation for the student's experience of doctoral education.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a conceptual and rhetorical approach.

Findings

The paper offers a critique of the journey metaphor as a characterisation of the student's doctoral experience and proposes instead the metaphor of the Quest, a cultural and literary form found in most societies. It argues that the six elements of the Quest identified by W.H. Auden resonate with the contemporary doctoral experience and emphasise the uncertainty involved in research rather than the linearity implied by the journey metaphor.

Social implications

The paper argues that the quest metaphor offers a cross‐cultural basis for both staff and student development activities through which sense can be made of the research experience, student concerns can be surfaced, and potentially difficult issues raised for discussion in an unthreatening way.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to apply the quest as a metaphor for the student's doctoral experience and offers a new way of interrogating that experience which will be of use to those involved in supporting research students.

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Book part
Publication date: 24 April 2019

DelyLazarte Elliot, Rui He and Dangeni

If we were to liken the long, intense doctoral journey to a battle, a strategy for winning can start from understanding well and then setting the right expectations about…

Abstract

If we were to liken the long, intense doctoral journey to a battle, a strategy for winning can start from understanding well and then setting the right expectations about modern supervision. We need to ask whether doctoral learners’ expectations are aligned with their supervisors’ expectations. With the wide and evolving roles of PhD supervisors, we focus only on three key areas: (1) academic conventions, (2) psychological well-being, and (3) career development. Using a hypothetical scenario for each area, we compare doctoral learners’ perspectives with their supervisors’, which highlights the need for greater understanding and connectivity between both parties. This leads to our discussion on how appreciating these areas has practical implications for doctoral learners and supervisors. Drawing mainly on UK-based examples, we raise useful ideas that can help promote a holistic doctoral journey and increase doctoral learners’ chances of winning the metaphorical “doctoral battle.”

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

David Taylor, Derek H.T. Walker and Tayyab Maqsood

The purpose of this Thesis Research Note (TRN) paper is to provide a summary of key aspects of a recently completed and passed PhD thesis. It enables readers who may be…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this Thesis Research Note (TRN) paper is to provide a summary of key aspects of a recently completed and passed PhD thesis. It enables readers who may be interested in the thesis topic to gain an overview of that work and a link to the entire thesis through a URL link http://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/eserv/rmit:160896/Taylor.pdf. The second main purpose of this TRN is to explain the thesis author’s doctoral journey.

Design/methodology/approach

The research approach discussed in relation to the reported upon PhD was soft systems methodology and sensemaking. The approach for the paper is to provide a reflective narrative to explain the lived experience of the authors throughout the candidate’s doctoral journey.

Findings

Findings from the PhD are summarised. The contribution to theory about practice, for practice and theory in practice is identified and the use of coding interview transcripts as an additional tool to be used in developing rich pictures is also discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The research reported upon is limited to a specific context and while conclusions cannot be generalised they can be used to better frame further context-specific studies.

Originality/value

The TRN provides a highly individualised account of a doctoral journey but it is intended to contribute to the growing body of TRNs published in this journal that in turn may inform decisions relating to candidates embarking on a doctoral journey.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2012

Jenna Vekkaila, Kirsi Pyhältö, Kai Hakkarainen, Jenni Keskinen and Kirsti Lonka

This article is intended to contribute towards furthering the understanding of researcher development as demonstrated by doctoral students' learning within scholarly…

Abstract

Purpose

This article is intended to contribute towards furthering the understanding of researcher development as demonstrated by doctoral students' learning within scholarly communities. The article does this by reporting the findings of a study that explored the students' key learning experiences during their doctoral journey.

Design/methodology/approach

The 19 participants were natural science doctoral students from a top‐level research community in Finland. The data were collected through interviews that were qualitatively content analysed.

Findings

The participants emphasised the significance of participation, development as a scholar, developing specific research competences as well as learning to balance between doctoral research and other institutional tasks. They situated the key learning experiences in collaborative academic contexts such as research activities, taking courses, and academic meetings. The participants generally perceived their experiences as positive and enhancing.

Originality/value

Significant learning experiences identified by natural science doctoral students themselves are rarely studied. The results of the study reported in this article may be used by doctoral trainers, supervisors and students to create environments that foster students' learning and researcher development through their participation in scholarly communities.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Inquiring into Academic Timescapes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-911-4

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Book part
Publication date: 24 April 2019

Kerry Bissaker, Sue Kupke, Divya Dawadi, Kamal Pokhrel, Vanessa Alexander, Jo Shearer, Helen Stephenson, Lesley Henderson and Ali Nawab

Uncertainty, overwhelmed, doubtful, anxious … and so the list of emotions of the doctoral candidate goes on. Yet, we can move from not just surviving emotional and…

Abstract

Uncertainty, overwhelmed, doubtful, anxious … and so the list of emotions of the doctoral candidate goes on. Yet, we can move from not just surviving emotional and cognitive challenges to thriving and embracing the challenges through the creation of a support network. While family and friends might be one supportive network, they often fail to understand the lived experience of doctoral research, so it is critical to establish a professional network early in the candidature. This may form naturally if you are researching within a laboratory setting, but for many doctoral candidates engaged in social science research, finding a place in a professional network may not be straightforward. In this chapter, co-written by doctoral students and their supervisor, the processes and power of creating a network are shared and explored in the hope of supporting others to achieve the same. The chapter presents ideas for creating or finding a place in a network but more importantly for recognizing the power of the network to ensure successful outcomes beyond the completion of the thesis. While completion of the thesis is a primary aim of the doctoral candidature, we argue the quality of the candidature experience can shape the future of the graduate and subsequently the next generation of academics.

Details

Getting the Most Out of Your Doctorate
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-905-2

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 January 2020

Alison Owens, Donna Lee Brien, Elizabeth Ellison and Craig Batty

There has been sustained interest in how to support doctoral students through the often-gruelling journey they undertake from enrolment to graduation. Although doctoral

Abstract

Purpose

There has been sustained interest in how to support doctoral students through the often-gruelling journey they undertake from enrolment to graduation. Although doctoral numbers and successful completions have been steadily increasing globally as well as in Australia, the quality of student progression and outcomes has been widely interrogated and criticised in the literature that is reported in this paper. The authors’ interest as experienced research higher degree supervisors and research leaders in the creative arts and humanities prompted a research project that aimed to better understand the challenges and breakthroughs involved in completing a doctorate from the perspective of candidates themselves.

Design/methodology/approach

This was implemented through an action learning collaboration with 18 students from three Australian universities facilitated by four research supervisors.

Findings

The main findings presented in this paper include the necessity for maintaining, brokering and supporting a range of relationships; understanding expectations of research study and embracing the need for agility in managing these; and finally, using techniques to improve personal agency and ownership of the transformative journey of research higher degree candidature. The importance of establishing an understanding of the multidimensional human experience of doing a doctorate and providing appropriate support through enhanced forms of research training emerged as a core finding from this research project.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively small number of research participants in this study and the discipline-specific focus prohibits generalizability of findings; however, the collaborative, action learning method adopted represents an approach that is both productive and transferable to other contexts and disciplines.

Practical implications

Further research might investigate the relevance of the findings from this research to doctoral students in other disciplines and/or institutions or apply the collaborative action learning approach to doctoral training presented here to a range of contexts and cohorts.

Social implications

Improving doctoral training options to support the multidimensional needs of candidates can better assure the mental and emotional well-being of doctoral students (essential to their continuing intellectual development and sense of agency) through developing sustainable relationships and realistic expectations. This in turn has the potential to address the consistently high attrition rates in doctoral programmes.

Originality/value

This research contributes new insights from doctoral students on the challenges and breakthroughs experienced by them as they pursue original research through formal study and present a novel, collaborative and empowering approach to doctoral training that can be applied in diverse setting.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2012

Gina Wisker and Gillian Robinson

The purpose of this article is to present findings from the authors' research into how supervisors of doctoral students cope with change in supervisory relationships where…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to present findings from the authors' research into how supervisors of doctoral students cope with change in supervisory relationships where a supervisor takes on a student previously supervised by another, or has to hand over a student to another supervisor's care, and to identify recommendations for applying these findings to supervisory practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used interviews to gather and analyse perceptions and practices from experienced supervisors, and aimed to identify good practice to support supervisors in enabling transitions to enhance student success. This work is underpinned by work on conceptual threshold‐crossing, students working at sufficiently critical, creative and conceptual levels to achieve doctorates; well‐being and emotional resilience, particularly in doctoral studies. It makes links between knowledge construction, resilience and well‐being, from the perspective of the supervisors, since it focuses on the experience of supervisors engaging with and supporting students.

Findings

The research identifies supervisors' anxiety at, and ways of managing the difficulties of, either losing or acquiring students. It highlights effective strategies for taking on students midway into their research to enable successful supervision.

Originality/value

This research offers new knowledge about supervisor perceptions of, experiences with and good practice suggestions for, supporting transitions for doctoral students who change supervisor.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2021

Kat R. McConnell and Rachel Louise Geesa

The purpose of this paper is to investigate mentors' and mentees' perspectives of the mentor role within an education doctoral mentoring program at a mid-sized public institution.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate mentors' and mentees' perspectives of the mentor role within an education doctoral mentoring program at a mid-sized public institution.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from individual interviews with mentors and mentees were collected as part of a larger case study of a doctoral mentoring program. Mentees were doctor of education (EdD) students in their first and second years of the program. Mentors were identified as individuals who graduated from or are further along in the doctoral program. Five (N = 5) mentees and seven (N = 7) mentors participated in interviews, which were then transcribed and coded to identify emergent themes, along with transcripts of presentations given by the mentors.

Findings

Four themes emerged within the data: differentiating support roles, mentoring as a way to identify gaps in doctoral student needs, mentoring as support for doctoral student success and ways to provide suggestions for mentoring program improvement. Results indicated that mentors and mentees viewed the mentor role as being unique from the roles of faculty advisor and dissertation chair. Mentors and mentees alike responded positively to virtual mentoring.

Research limitations/implications

Participation by mentors and mentees was limited to first- and second-year doctoral students; thus, dissertation-stage students' perceptions of mentoring could not be determined. Implications include the value of mentoring in filling the gaps of support for doctoral students and the capability of mentoring programs to be adapted to unexpected circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originality/value

This study targets scholar-practitioner students in an EdD program, who are often overlooked by mentoring literature, and distinguishes research between faculty mentoring and mentoring performed by other students/recent graduates. Additionally, the pandemic gave the authors an opportunity to explore adapting mentoring to virtual formats.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

Charles MacDonald, Derek H.T. Walker and Neveen Moussa

The purpose of this paper is to report on findings from a doctoral thesis examining value for money in alliance projects. It provides a summary of the thesis findings…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on findings from a doctoral thesis examining value for money in alliance projects. It provides a summary of the thesis findings, explains the thesis author's doctoral journey and the context of both the thesis and the university program.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of the thesis reported upon here utilised a combination of interviews with domain experts, reflection on practice and a Delphi panel to develop and refine a value for money/best value outcome model for alliance projects. The thesis research approach is described in this paper.

Findings

Results from the thesis indicate that a robust model for demonstrating value for money in an alliance project is feasible and the model was both developed and tested through the Delphi panel.

Practical implications

The paper's findings achieve two ends. First, the paper presents a summary of an important development in project alliancing practice; second, the paper adds to the body of knowledge surrounding the motivation and “lived experience” of mature professional doctoral candidates when balancing demanding careers and doctoral‐level study.

Originality/value

This research expands the conceptual view and practical assessment of value for money in project alliancing.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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