Perspectives on the purposes, processes and products of doctorates: towards a rich picture of doctorates

Thorne, Lucy Eva (1999) Perspectives on the purposes, processes and products of doctorates: towards a rich picture of doctorates. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The last decade has witnessed major changes in British doctoral education. The emergence of professional and practice-based doctorates in particular, are beginning to prompt broad questions concerning the purposes, processes and products of graduate study. A growing diversity of doctoral provision is coupled with a disparate student population. For doctorates to evolve in a responsive manner, the complexity of provision and need must be understood. This work provides new insights into these changes by specifically focusing on the perspectives of students and graduates; something relatively unexplored. The perceptions and experiences of 217 students and graduates from different types of doctorates at 4 institutions were examined through postal questionnaires and follow-up semi-structured interviews. Interviews were also conducted with 8 supervisors from each institution and 9 employers, to provide a snapshot of understanding in relation to students' views.
Results suggest that motivation varies with age. Younger students were more driven by the prospect of career enhancement and the development of research techniques, whereas older students gave more credence to personal development. Noticeable agreement was found over those resources that were regarded as both important and unimportant and all students considered both independence and collaboration important ways of working during a doctorate. Students' concepts of a doctorate and their understanding of doctoral capability did not seem to recognise the complexity and transferability of skills. The views of supervisors and employers varied in important respects from those of the students.
These findings are discussed and their political, institutional and methodological implications are explored. It is recommended that further work concentrates on exploring the perspectives of employers to continue enriching the understanding of doctoral education.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
B. > Theses
Item ID: 6416
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2010 11:41
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2023 06:57

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