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Title: The idea of the doctorate : differing perspectives derived from a case study that highlights the perceptions of mature doctoral candidates
Author: Rowley, Susan Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3538 8373
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2003
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The trend in recent policy initiatives has been away from subject-centred towards learner-centred education. However, the prefix learner raises fundamental questions regarding the balance of power in the relationship between the university and the student. This study focuses on one very specific area of university education, the doctorate because it is argued that the doctorate is an embodiment of the traditional idea of the university. However until very recently, literature on the doctorate has been minimal moreover, research that is currently being published appears to have been heavily influenced by the contemporary outcomes-based discourse. This study however is interpretive which by examining the doctorate at the level of experience and meaning, argues that before researching outcomes there is a need to open up the doctoral black box through better understanding of what presently exists. This case study is based upon 37 interviews which were conducted with academics and students currently involved with doctoral training and through examining the manner in which they constructed, accounted for and gave meaning to the doctorate it demonstrates that a much wider variety of meanings are associated with the doctorate than are acknowledged within the boundaries of the existing discourses. By deconstructing the processes through which the doctorate has traditionally been constructed, the critical stance adopted in this study problematises the ethnomethodological concept of Indexicality, whereby meaning or sense of a phenomenon is derived from its specific context. It is argued that it is not the meaning of the doctorate per se that is derived from its specific context but rather that, it is the power of academic conventions and practices to regulate the boundaries of how meaning can be attached to the doctorate that are derived from its specific context. Whilst on the one hand, this text seeks to challenge academic authority to define the ways that may legitimately be used to construct the doctorate, at the same time it acknowledges the seductive nature of academic power. Therefore, this text includes not only an analysis of the doctorate as a phenomenon but also a reflexive account of the process of writing about the doctorate as a doctoral thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training