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Article

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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Article

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

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…

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

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…

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

Keywords

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Article

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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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Article

Michelle Morgan

The purpose of this paper is to report the notable findings of students with different domiciled status. There is a lack of research and understanding of how prior study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the notable findings of students with different domiciled status. There is a lack of research and understanding of how prior study experiences and the expectations of new students that are due to embark on an MSc by coursework level (also known as postgraduate-taught [PGT]) can impact on their study and ability to persist and succeed. The research available has mainly been confined to post-experience surveys. By identifying prior study experiences and study expectations, education providers in higher education institutions can use these insights not only to attract more students but to improve retention rates and the overall student experience. The research undertaken in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing at a London-based, post-1992 institution aims to provide valuable data and insights into this nationally and internationally neglected area.

Design/methodology/approach

New taught postgraduate students provided data on their previous study experiences, study expectations, opinions of postgraduate-level study and demographic data via a hard copy questionnaire which was distributed and completed during the orientation period in September 2012. It was entered into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), and a range of tests were run on the data.

Findings

The findings in this paper and the project in general will be further explored and investigated as a result of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) awarding a major grant to the post-1992 university to undertake research into these areas amongst nine similar English universities.

Research limitations/implications

As the research was conducted over a one-year period, the findings are based on the limitations that such a time and financially limited project can offer. The institution at which the research was undertaken is a post-1992 institution that has high concentration towards teaching functions. The findings in this paper and the project in general will be further explored and investigated as a result of the HEFCE awarding a major grant to the post-1992 university to undertake research into these areas among nine similar English universities.

Originality/value

The research highlights the similarities and differences in prior study experiences and expectations of studying at PGT level between the UK-, the European Union- (EU) and Non-EU-domiciled respondents. The research offers potentially important findings for similar institutions that are currently looking to develop and expand their PGT provision.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Keywords

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Article

Magdy A. Khalaf and Nevien Khourshed

The purpose of this paper is to promote and analytically verify an advanced assessment design to evaluate service quality (SQ) especially in postgraduate higher education.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to promote and analytically verify an advanced assessment design to evaluate service quality (SQ) especially in postgraduate higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopts a quantitative approach through a survey method. A structured questionnaire was designed as a means for collecting data. Data were collected from 182 postgraduate students in an Egyptian higher education university. Data were examined by exploratory factor analysis to pinpoint the main irregularities explained by the extracted factors. Then, confirmatory factor analysis was carried out to filter the ratios and empirically test the assessment efficiency of the developed model.

Findings

The final model consists of 33 items loaded into eight dimensions for measuring performance-based SQ of the postgraduate higher education. The results are satisfactory in terms of unidimensionality, trustworthiness, and validity tests.

Research limitations/implications

Although the empirical results are significant, a comparative study can identify relative strengths and weaknesses of this model.

Practical implications

For improving postgraduate higher education institutions’ quality, this paper highlights some dimensions and attributes that should be considered.

Originality/value

The literature proposes that there is an opportunity to handle SQ from the point of view of postgraduate students covering different contexts to further build a more comprehensive structure specifically for postgraduate higher education SQ. This paper deals with this research gap with analytical confirmation within the context of postgraduate programs in an Egyptian university.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article

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…

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

Jennifer Scott

The purpose of this paper is to examine the efficacy of the strategies that new, regional universities use for recruiting international postgraduate research students (IPRSs).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the efficacy of the strategies that new, regional universities use for recruiting international postgraduate research students (IPRSs).

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory, qualitative cross-case study analysis was used to address a problem and associated gap in the literature, identified from a review of academic literature and government statistics. Case studies comprised multiple data sources, including interviews and questionnaires with 66 employee and student respondents and document reviews.

Findings

A disparity between the views of students and employees regarding effective recruitment strategies was apparent. This led to divergence between the needs of prospective students and institutional strategies used during recruitment. Findings include suggestions to improve such strategies.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides a basis for future research on higher education recruitment for new and regional universities and for IPRSs. As the research focused on two Australian universities, knowledge obtained should be explored further.

Practical implications

Results suggest students considering overseas postgraduate research study prioritize information, readily available online, about the university’s research focus and capacity, the features of surrounding communities and the regional impact of the research. Results also suggest that focusing on developing institution-to-institution and researcher-to-researcher relationships provides a mechanism by which the institution can enhance its international reputation to attract more students.

Originality/value

Limited research focuses specifically on recruitment of IPRSs. The results can support new, regional universities to review and modify their strategies for benefit to students and universities.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

Keywords

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Article

Robyn Elizabeth Glade-Wright

The purpose of this paper is to promote narrative inquiry as a legitimate research approach for artists undertaking postgraduate research higher degrees.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to promote narrative inquiry as a legitimate research approach for artists undertaking postgraduate research higher degrees.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes the form of a literature review describing practice-led research. It draws heavily on theories of art to support its claims.

Findings

In creative arts postgraduate research degrees, where the thesis is delivered in the form of artifacts and an exegesis, new knowledge and understandings are produced in two fields. In the first of these two fields, new theoretical knowledge detailing the conceptual basis for the creative work may contribute to the understanding of the purpose and nature of art. The second field of new knowledge involves artifacts as they can enlarge knowledge about what the author feel and know through images that illuminate experiences and understandings of life. The development and delivery of these forms of new knowledge occur in an interdependent manner.

Originality/value

The original contribution of this paper is the manner in which artifacts are shown to demonstrate the theoretical knowledge claims articulated in the exegesis Furthermore, this paper highlights the significance and value of new knowledge and the manner in which this knowledge is effectively shared.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

Keywords

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