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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2021

Tony Bromley and Lorna Warnock

In this review paper, the authors are particularly interested in the growth in the scholarly investigation of the efficacy of developmental interventions for doctoral and…

Abstract

Purpose

In this review paper, the authors are particularly interested in the growth in the scholarly investigation of the efficacy of developmental interventions for doctoral and early career researchers. This paper aims to provide a “State of the Art” overview of the emerging fields of research and suggest areas that command more research.

Design/methodology/approach

A foundation of key disseminations relating to the new discipline has become established, and it is the outputs of these that the authors look to first in their review. However, much of the work is reported in the proceedings of two specific conferences, known to the authors and does not appear in database searches, which results in a concentration of research in two specific countries, namely, the UK and Australia. Relatively little is found from database searches, however approached, but the authors also report on this work.

Findings

There is a general gap in the depth of the body of work in all areas of literature relating to research on the practice of developing researchers. We have identified specific areas as the most limited in terms of the body of published research including research governance; work life balance; engagement influence and impact training and creativity and innovation training.

Research limitations/implications

There is much work as yet unpublished and the practice of rigorous study and publication is not yet generally embedded in this research discipline.

Practical implications

Without the depth of rigorous and robust findings of research to provide us with evidence of good practice, the emergent discipline will struggle to have integrity in its practice. Continued growth in research in this emergent discipline is essential.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first review of its kind looking at the published research in respect of the development of researchers.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 November 2018

Claire K. Robbins and Lucy A. LePeau

Researcher development is an important but underexplored topic with implications for knowledge production, graduate education, faculty development and equity in higher…

Abstract

Purpose

Researcher development is an important but underexplored topic with implications for knowledge production, graduate education, faculty development and equity in higher education. The purpose of this constructivist instrumental case study was to understand how the process of writing and publishing from qualitative dissertations sparked researcher development among two pre-tenure faculty members in higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

Two researchers and seven data sources (i.e. six essays and one dialogue transcript) were used to construct the case. Researchers first inductively and independently coded the data sources. Researchers then collectively used the constant comparative technique (Charmaz, 2014) for data analysis.

Findings

Data analysis uncovered an iterative, three-phase process of seeking “better ways” (Evans, 2011) to translate dissertations into publications. This process included (1) recognizing one or more issues in the research design or conveyance of data, (2) rallying in a multitude of ways to seek better ways to address the issue(s) and (3) resolving the issue(s) by following internal voices and finding “better ways”.

Originality/value

Findings offer implications for faculty members’ approaches to mentoring and graduate preparation, and for postdoctoral and early career scholars’ agentic approaches to publishing, teaching and reflecting on one’s own researcher development.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2011

Linda Evans

This paper represents a written, expanded, version of a keynote address presented at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, at the midland Hotel…

1042

Abstract

Purpose

This paper represents a written, expanded, version of a keynote address presented at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, at the midland Hotel, Manchester, UK, in September 2011. It is intended both to contribute towards defining researcher development as a field of research and scholarship, and to motivate those with an interest in the field to go beyond mere description and to incorporate clarity, rigour and analytical depth into their work. Its specific objective is to propose a research agenda for researcher development and to present the case for this agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an analytical and conceptual paper. It presents the author's subjective views, illustrated, where appropriate, with examples of the author's conceptual and theoretical work. These underpin the research agenda for the field of researcher development.

Findings

There are no “findings” as such, only the author's perspective and observation that, as an emerging field of research and scholarship, researcher development must follow the path of academic rigour (e.g. analytical depth, conceptual clarity, definitional precision, and the development of theory and theoretical perspectives) if it is to achieve credibility within the academic community. The field also needs to widen its focus, it is argued, reflecting a broad interpretation of the concept of researcher development.

Originality/value

This is the first paper dedicated to an attempt to define the field. Its value also lies in its definitions and conceptualisations of researcher development, and its presentation of a taxonomy that deconstructs researcher development, revealing it to be multidimensional.

Article
Publication date: 23 August 2021

Fathima Azra Fazal and Rupak Chakravarty

This paper aims to discuss with an introductory narrative on the models and its role in the context of librarianship.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss with an introductory narrative on the models and its role in the context of librarianship.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores the relationship between researcher development and library research support. The authors observed the interconnectedness of the two concepts and how this should be studied more with respect to librarianship. Five major higher education and researcher development–related models are examined to assess which would be more suited for library’s research support activities. Accordingly, Prof Linda Evans’ conceptual researcher development model, the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), the Research Skill Development Framework, Society of College, National and University Libraries Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model and Association of College and Research Libraries’ Standards for Libraries in Higher Education were reviewed. Review and examination of the frameworks, along with relevant literature on the topic, were examined.

Findings

The authors found that the Vitae RDF seemed most ideal, as it was comprehensive and detailed in presentation and could be used not just by the academic staff but also by librarians and researchers to their benefit.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies and thorough review of recent educational and library-related frameworks and models are required from the lens of library research support.

Practical implications

Application of frameworks needs to be actively adopted by librarians.

Originality/value

There are few studies that have examined researcher development and research support in librarianship in conjunction. The present study has aimed to bridge this gap.

Article
Publication date: 20 May 2011

Arwen E. Raddon

The literature demonstrates how the environment for and value of research is changing. The purpose of this paper is to explore the narratives of 30 UK researchers and…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature demonstrates how the environment for and value of research is changing. The purpose of this paper is to explore the narratives of 30 UK researchers and academics to consider how they learned about the nature and value of research through the researcher development process and within this broader context of change.

Design/methodology/approach

A biographical‐narrative approach is adopted, emphasising subjective experience and meaning and how this is shaped by wider social structures.

Findings

Respondents' stories highlight the continued informality of much of the development process and how a lack of systematic support can leave much to chance, potentially undermining future views of professional development. Data from respondents across generations also enable examination of some of the changes that have taken place over time in the higher education (HE) environment and the impact this has had on individuals' understanding of research. In particular, changes such as the introduction of the Research Assessment Exercise/Research Excellence Framework appear to have had a significant – and not entirely positive – shaping influence on how individuals perceive, and experience, research and its aims, leading to an emphasis on outputs over knowledge building.

Research limitations/implications

A biographical‐narrative approach necessarily involves a smaller sample, nevertheless, shared themes were generated by this size of sample and inferences can be drawn.

Practical implications

Despite increased emphasis on research and publishing in the UK, these stories across generations suggest that training and development for researchers often remain very informal, with much left to chance. A more overt approach to researcher development, such as through a “scaffolded” learning process, in which an experienced colleague guides development activities, could help to avoid negative early experiences and increase the likelihood that individuals will develop their own sense of a “culture of developmentalism”.

Originality/value

Focusing on what individuals learn about the nature and value of research as they go through the development process adds to our understanding of researcher development and how this is situated within the wider HE context. Data from respondents across generations equally enable examination of some of the changes that have taken place over time, and how these re‐shape researcher development.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 November 2018

Ismail Ait Saadi, Heidi Ellise Collins and D.P. Dash

This paper aims to share reflections on a collaborative researcher development initiative in Malaysia – the Borneo Research Education Conference (BREC) series. Although…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to share reflections on a collaborative researcher development initiative in Malaysia – the Borneo Research Education Conference (BREC) series. Although the immediate focus is on graduate students, the intention is to trigger wider discussions of researcher development theory in the context of policy and practice in the region.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a reflection-on-action approach. Reflecting on experience and sharing the lessons learned in a variety of contexts is vital for the development of this emerging field.

Findings

Introducing researcher development programs requires careful consideration of the social, institutional and practical contexts in which it takes place. Although transformation of the field is a long-term process, this process can start with small intentional practices.

Research limitations/implications

The analyses and recommendations arising from the BREC experience are context-specific and therefore cannot be generalised. However, the paper offers guidance for other researcher development initiatives, especially in contexts where the field is not well established.

Practical implications

Deliberately designed practices, such as including a broad range of researchers and creating a safe space for active engagement in developmental activities, can have a positive impact on participant’s researcher identities, self-confidence and sense of belonging.

Social implications

Policymakers are encouraged to consider a more inclusive notion of researcher development, focussing both on the product and the process of doctoral education.

Originality/value

Documenting and sharing reflections of a researcher development initiative in a “developing country” context allows for the comparing and contrasting of experiences in other settings.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2011

Robert Bray and Stuart Boon

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the use of a framework and planner for researcher development introduced into the United Kingdom in 2010 by Vitae: an organisation…

2275

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the use of a framework and planner for researcher development introduced into the United Kingdom in 2010 by Vitae: an organisation whose purpose is to support the development of UK researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative and quantitative data from two cohorts participating in an accredited researcher development course designed and delivered by the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement at the University of Strathclyde were analysed.

Findings

Participants reported that the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) personal development planner (PDP) was useful in facilitating career development. Most found it relatively easy to use once initial perceptions of the tool as being overly detailed and complex were overcome. In addition, some technical problems with the software were identified. There was great variation in the manner in which the RDF was used (for instance in the number of descriptors selected). Although use was highly individualised, the full range of descriptors was used between the course participants.

Practical implications

The results suggest that the RDF PD planner has great potential in supporting researcher development, provided certain specified conditions are met – in particular the need to ensure individualisation, support, and researcher ownership of the outcomes. Further evaluation is necessary.

Originality/value

This is the first report on the RDF PDP being used in a researcher development course.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2012

Peter Kahn, Christos Petichakis and Lorraine Walsh

The complexities and challenges inherent in research often require collaborative rather than solitary or team‐based forms of working. This paper seeks to open new…

Abstract

Purpose

The complexities and challenges inherent in research often require collaborative rather than solitary or team‐based forms of working. This paper seeks to open new perspectives onto the nature of collaborative research and onto strategies for developing the capacity of researchers to engage in it.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines a speculative model of collaborative working in higher education that is rooted in critical realist perspectives, using it to ground a conceptual analysis of a stage model of expertise for collaborative working taken from the researcher development framework (RDF) developed in the UK by the organisation Vitae.

Findings

The paper highlights the contribution that theory can make to the practice of researcher development, drawing out the relevance of personal engagement, professional dialogue and collaborative vehicles to support shared practice in pursuit of mutual goals. In this way, it identifies gaps within the stage model that pertain to relational, disciplinary, situational and other elements. The paper articulates insights for the development of the capacity of researchers for collaborative working that prioritise dialogue that is situated within given contexts for research. The analysis draws out implications for the development of collaborative capacity of such notions as corporate agency and collaborative reach.

Originality/value

This paper articulates a novel approach to conceptualising capacity for collaborative research and offers a theoretical critique of a given descriptor taken from Vitae's RDF. As such it assists in developing the scholarly basis for the field of researcher development.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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…

1172

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

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2010

Lucy J. Lee, Isobel Gowers, Lorraine Ellis and Ilaria Bellantuonoa

This article reports the development, application and results of a baseline investigation of contract research staff in 2007 in the Medical School at the University of…

2519

Abstract

This article reports the development, application and results of a baseline investigation of contract research staff in 2007 in the Medical School at the University of Sheffield which was carried out in order to develop a specifically tailored training and career development programme and allow for future impact evaluation of the scheme. Postdoctoral researchers reported on their perceived skill levels, academic achievements, career motivations and the current research environment. Results indicated that transferable skills related to communication and awareness of the process of research (i.e. the process of acquisition of funding, commercialisation of research outputs) were lacking. Furthermore, these skills were associated with higher publication outputs, and improved with mobility between institutions at postdoctoral level. This paper also describes how the findings from the baseline evaluation were used to develop a programme to address the lower ranking skills and evaluate the impact of the programme.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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