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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2021

Charlotte Morris

The purpose of this paper is to explore belonging in relation to postgraduate wellbeing in the light of renewed concerns about the mental health and wellbeing this group…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore belonging in relation to postgraduate wellbeing in the light of renewed concerns about the mental health and wellbeing this group of learners. It attends to postgraduates’ subjective wellbeing, identifying ways in which this is intertwined with a sense of belonging. Belonging is situated in relation to the social domains of postgraduate experiences. This paper seeks to contribute in-depth understandings of postgraduate experiences, to make recommendations for practice and to identify fruitful paths for further theorisation and research.

Design/methodology/approach

Two qualitative data sets situated in UK higher education are drawn on here: firstly, longitudinal qualitative data entailing 33 narrative interviews and written reflections of doctoral researchers were collected as part of a phenomenological study of doctoral learning. Secondly, interview data from 20 postgraduates (including masters, professional doctorates and PhD researchers) were collected as part of mixed method qualitative case study research into postgraduate wellbeing. Postgraduate participants were based in the social sciences, humanities, arts and professional disciplines at a cross-section of UK higher education institutions. Data were analysed thematically with a focus on interconnections between wellbeing, learning and belonging.

Findings

A sense of belonging arose as a key contributing factor to postgraduate wellbeing. Belonging emerged as multi-faceted, interlinking with spatial, relational and cultural factors which are likely to be experienced in different ways and degrees depending on positionalities. Experiences of belonging and non-belonging are understood as produced through academic cultures and structural inequities. They also pertain to the uncertain, in-between position of postgraduate learners. For postgraduates, and doctoral researchers especially, reaching a sense of belonging to academia was a profoundly important aspect of their journeys. Conversely, lack of belonging is linked with poor mental wellbeing and engagement with studies.

Originality/value

This paper engages with the neglected social domain of wellbeing. Attending to subjective perceptions of wellbeing enabled nuanced understandings of the links between wellbeing and belonging. It identifies spatial, relational and cultural dimensions of postgraduate belonging, contributing an understanding of how feelings of non-belonging manifest, how belonging might be nurtured, and how this potentially contributes to postgraduates’ wellbeing.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2020

Habsah Muda, Zaharah Salwati Baba, Zainudin Awang, Natasha Shazleen Badrul, Nanthakumar Loganathan and Mass Hareeza Ali

The rationale for the postgraduate supervision measures for higher education by the call for universities to adopt a systematic practice in postgraduate supervision…

Abstract

Purpose

The rationale for the postgraduate supervision measures for higher education by the call for universities to adopt a systematic practice in postgraduate supervision through new supervisors' exposure to creative ways of monitoring. This paper aims at understanding, improving and validating the content of behavioral supervision measures using the expert review and pretesting analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors developed, modified and operationalized the items based on the developmental supervision theoretical concept by Glickman (1980) to measure the behavioral supervision of postgraduate in higher education. The authors obtain comments and verification from experts for content validity and criterion validity. Later, the authors do pretesting of face validity.

Findings

The result of the expert review and pretesting, analysis, provides measures (items) for the following seven stages (components) of postgraduate behavioral supervision: listening/clarifying; encouraging; presenting/demonstrating; negotiating/problem-solving; directing; standardizing and reinforcing.

Practical implications

The findings contribute to the rational development of supervision measures and functional transformation in the postgraduate supervision process in higher education at national and international contexts.

Social implications

These supervision measures, if practiced by the supervisors and postgraduates' students, will accelerate and achieve the aspiration initiative of the Ministry of Higher Education. In general, based on the needs identified, the positive impact of this study can improve national and international postgraduate program educational outcomes.

Originality/value

There is limited number of empirical research which resulted in postgraduate behavioral supervision measures in the context of higher education.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2019

Siviwe Bangani, Mathew Moyo and Dina Mokgadi Mashiyane

The purpose of this paper is to determine the use of library spaces by postgraduate students at the North-West University in South Africa.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the use of library spaces by postgraduate students at the North-West University in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey research methodology was used in which both online and print questionnaires were used to gather data.

Findings

The major findings of the study were that postgraduate students frequently visited the libraries to make use of the quite study spaces, which include the research commons and the study carrels. The study further found out that postgraduate students rarely visited the libraries for the purpose of consulting librarians regarding their studies. Challenges expressed by the students include insufficient workstations, poor internet and Wi-Fi connectivity and limited seating capacity. The benefit of the study is that it will help librarians and the university administrators to better understand the postgraduate students space needs, as well as the challenges being encountered.

Research limitations/implications

This biggest limitation of this study was a lack or low response rate by certain faculties, which mitigated against comparing the use of spaces by faculty.

Practical implications

The results of this study re-affirm the need for postgraduate spaces. University libraries that seek to build postgraduate spaces in the future need to ensure that an adequate number of computer workstations are supplied and Wi-Fi and bandwidth are improved. University libraries that already have postgraduate spaces should consider adding more workstations and improving bandwidth and Wi-Fi connectivity in those spaces. These results further point to a need for libraries in Africa and elsewhere to consider having more quiet study spaces for postgraduate students while reducing the number of group study spaces.

Social implications

The results of this study point to a need for libraries and university authorities to periodically review library spaces as a way to ensure their continued optimal usage. They also point to a need for more funds to further enhance the library spaces for postgraduate students’ use.

Originality/value

South African libraries are faced with challenges including the addition of 15 per cent value added tax to print and online resources. In this environment, libraries are expected by university authorities to demonstrate return on investment. This study, therefore, is located within the realm of determining return on investment for the funds spent by universities to build dedicated postgraduate library spaces. This study will further benefit librarians and the university administrators by helping them to better understand the postgraduate students space needs, as well as the challenges being encountered.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. 69 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Jonine Jancey and Sharyn Burns

Few studies have evaluated the satisfaction of mature‐aged postgraduate students. The purpose of this paper is to determine postgraduate coursework students' service…

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Abstract

Purpose

Few studies have evaluated the satisfaction of mature‐aged postgraduate students. The purpose of this paper is to determine postgraduate coursework students' service expectations in regard to academic course quality, university services and industry links.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of 51 taught postgraduate students enrolled in the School of Public Health nested postgraduate courses was conducted. Students completed an online self‐complete survey (response rate of 58 per cent). Descriptive statistics and univariate analysis (chi‐square) were used to explore associations between variables.

Findings

Postgraduate taught students come from a variety of career backgrounds. They place a great deal of importance on their educational experience, especially in regard to academic factors: reputable degree; skilled engaging teachers; access to online resources; ready contact with academics; and supportive enrolment processes.

Practical implications

A greater awareness of student expectations equips universities to provide a more meaningful pedagogical experience and to better address the unique needs of postgraduate students. This is likely to enhance lifelong learning and support retention and progression rates.

Originality/value

This research provides a case study of a specific group of postgraduate students and helps understand some of the unique requirements of this postgraduate group, which is largely older, female, domestic students.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Ortrun Zuber‐Skerritt and Val Roche

This paper presents a new constructivist model of knowledge development in a case study that illustrates how a group of postgraduate students defined and evaluated…

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4917

Abstract

This paper presents a new constructivist model of knowledge development in a case study that illustrates how a group of postgraduate students defined and evaluated effective postgraduate supervision. This new model is based on “personal construct theory” and “repertory grid technology” which is combined with interviews and group discussion. It is argued that this approach leads to a more meaningful interpretation of results and facilitates formative evaluation and professional development of supervisors. In this case study we discuss details of our evaluation method and its benefits and limitations. We explain how this approach enables both supervisors and students to participate actively in research and development activities, to develop their own constructs or theories of effective supervision, and to communicate their suggestions for improvement. Further applications of this constructivist model to postgraduate supervision practice and to research in higher education are suggested.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Anna Saiti, Rosemary Papa and Ric Brown

The purpose of this paper is to identify, through empirical analysis, the factors affecting, and expectations of, postgraduate students in their choice of postgraduate

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify, through empirical analysis, the factors affecting, and expectations of, postgraduate students in their choice of postgraduate programme in Greece.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 523 postgraduate students from various university departments in the Athens area completed the questionnaire (response rate: 70.2 per cent), which contained 14 questions designed to identify the reasons why postgraduate students had chosen their particular postgraduate programme and what their expectations were as to the outcome of their studies, on a self-reporting basis.

Findings

Two fields of postgraduate programmes were popular: business administration and educational studies. Quality and preference appears to influence business administration students, their choice was intrinsically motivated and self-determined, without any external pressures. By contrast, students’ choice in educational studies was influenced by the particular characteristics of the programme, their choice was influenced by institutional motivation whereas their options and autonomy support seemed to be less.

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations, so data gathered from other Greek regions may be needed for a more thorough investigation and analysis as well as for the confirmation of the results.

Originality/value

There is only a very limited amount of empirical research concerning the identification of the factors affecting, and the expectations of, postgraduate students in their choice of postgraduate programme while the existing literature on the subject does not discuss the matter in substantial detail. Indeed, the present study moves the analysis forward as it considers both economic and psychological perspective in the choice of postgraduate programmes.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2012

Shiv Kumar

The purpose of the present study is to take an overview of the use of computers, internet, computer skills and information searching behaviour on the web as well as the…

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1227

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present study is to take an overview of the use of computers, internet, computer skills and information searching behaviour on the web as well as the OPAC in a university setting among students at the postgraduate level from rural and urban backgrounds in a comparative analogue.

Design/methodology/approach

This survey‐based study utilized the questionnaire as its major data collection instrument. However, the interview method and general observations were also used, whenever required, to supplement the data and make the information more explicit. The data, thus collected, were analysed with the aid of SPSS statistical software. The Chi‐square test was also performed to identify significant comparability among urban and rural background students.

Findings

The study revealed that most postgraduates (95.5 per cent) belonging to rural areas were computer literate. Further, most of them had accessed the web for communication purposes and for locating general and academic information. The results showed no significant differences between rural and urban students for the use of computer and internet, usage patterns of OPAC like search engines and the ease of OPAC use and their expectations from OPAC. The only significant differences found among both groups were for their reactions during unsuccessful searches. Thus, the background of users at the postgraduate level does not significantly affect the use of computer and internet, information searching behaviour patterns on the web and library systems, especially OPAC.

Originality/value

This is a pioneering work to examine whether postgraduates from differing backgrounds searched for information required by them differently through varying information channels for academic purposes in a university library system in India.

Details

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2008

Robert J. Angell, Troy W. Heffernan and Phil Megicks

Measuring service quality in higher education is increasingly important for attracting and retaining tuition‐based revenues. Nonetheless, whilst undergraduates have…

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5924

Abstract

Purpose

Measuring service quality in higher education is increasingly important for attracting and retaining tuition‐based revenues. Nonetheless, whilst undergraduates have received substantial academic exposure, postgraduate‐based research has been scant. Consequently, the objectives of this paper are threefold: first, to identify the service factors used by postgraduates in their quality evaluations. Second, to analyse the appropriateness of importance‐performance analysis (IPA) in the measurement of service quality and, final, to provide a working example of IPA's application in a UK‐based university.

Design/methodology/approach

Convergent interviews were used to elicit attributes of service that were deemed important by taught postgraduate students. These findings were then tested using an online survey. Exploratory factor analysis was used to group the service attributes into latent “service factors”. Each service factor was then tested for service quality using Martilla and James's IPA technique.

Findings

About 20 service attributes were educed from the qualitative stage. From these, four service factors emerged; being, academic, leisure, industry links and cost. Using IPA in a UK university, the findings suggest that the “academic” and “industry links” aspects of service quality are the most critical to postgraduates. The paper's conclusions suggest that IPA is an appropriate tool for measuring service quality in postgraduate education.

Practical implications

Through the application of the IPA framework presented in this research, practitioners can successfully identify areas of service priority and thus allocate appropriate resources to encourage continuous service improvement.

Originality/value

This research provides a valuable insight into the service quality needs of the UK postgraduate segment and also a potential conceptual framework for policy makers to use when evaluating their service delivery.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Bayan Khalifa, Osama Dukhan and Sulaiman Mouselli

The purpose of this paper is to explore why students decide to enrol in a business postgraduate programme at Damascus University in the current Syrian crisis.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore why students decide to enrol in a business postgraduate programme at Damascus University in the current Syrian crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

Exploration of students’ motives was generated in this study using semi-structured interviews. On the basis of saturation sampling, 11 interviews took place in the leading Syrian university providing postgraduate programmes, Damascus University.

Findings

The results from the interviews indicate the existence of six different motives for students to enrol in a postgraduate study: self-motives, professional motives, social motives, academic motives, lack of vision, and delaying military service, which is directly caused by the current war conditions in Syria.

Practical implications

Understanding postgraduates’ motives is essential at the national level, the institutional level, and also at the individual level to make better future plans related to opening new programmes or altering admission criteria. Recommendations to higher education policy makers are highlighted in the study.

Originality/value

The majority of previous studies concentrate on students’ motives to pursue postgraduate studies during financial crisis. However, very little is known on why students decide to enrol in a business postgraduate programme in a war context.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Bernard Besseah, Daisy Achiro, Joseph Mhando and Sadiat Adetoro Salau

This viewpoint paper aims to propose a digital and research literacy support program for postgraduate schools in sub-Saharan Africa institutions.

Abstract

Purpose

This viewpoint paper aims to propose a digital and research literacy support program for postgraduate schools in sub-Saharan Africa institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviewed literature on postgraduate students’ skills and postgraduate information literacy programs and proposed one for postgraduate schools in sub-Saharan Africa institutions.

Findings

Information literacy programs are not implemented at the postgraduate level in sub-Saharan Africa possibly because of lack of contents for these programs.

Research limitations/implications

The course is only a proposed course that can be embedded into the postgraduate curriculum in sub-Saharan African universities. The effectiveness of the course has not been evaluated in this study.

Originality/value

The proposed information literacy program focused on digital and research literacy, which is still relatively new in sub-Saharan Africa.

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