The doctoral experience: a bit of a curate's egg

Boon, Helen (2013) The doctoral experience: a bit of a curate's egg. In: Proceedings of Australian Association for Research in Education Conference. From: AARE 2013: Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, 1-5 December 2013, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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Abstract

Established models of doctoral education in Australia are generally based on an apprenticeship model, where doctoral students learn from their advisors. However, these are slowly being reconsidered in light of low completion rates.

This study investigated doctoral students' perceptions of their candidature by way of focus group interviews. The participants represented 17.9% of the doctoral students enrolled at a university. Three research questions constituted the interview schedule protocol:

• What are some of the positives of your experience since you enrolled in the doctoral program?

• What are some of the negatives of your experience since you enrolled in the doctoral program?

• What are some of your recommendations for the future?

Content analysis was employed to analyse interview transcripts and generate themes arising from each research question. The frequency with which such themes were cited were categorised by their incidence across the 18 schools represented in the study and across the whole sample of students to assess their prevalence.

Key themes most often generated related to:

• Generic skill courses;

• Personal office space;

• Supervision;

• Social and academic/research culture; and

• Communications.

Results are discussed in relation to the future of doctoral education in Australia in an increasingly globalised competitive education sector.

Research Statement

Research Background Research took place with HDR students at a university. It was a qualitative project.
Item ID: 31485
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: higher education, doctoral education, higher degree students, PhD
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Publication available on publisher's website.

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ISSN: 1324-9320
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2014 23:28
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development @ 100%
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