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Choosing the Thesis by Publication approach: motivations and influencers for doctoral candidates


The primary research output of a contemporary doctoral journey is no longer limited to a traditional thesis. Amongst other possibilities, current doctoral candidates may choose to produce a Thesis by Publication (TBP). However, very little is known about the factors shaping doctoral candidates’ decisions to adopt a TBP approach during their doctoral journey. This paper reports on quantitative and qualitative data collected in 2018 and 2019 from 246 recent doctoral graduates from Australian universities who completed a TBP. It reports on data exploring when candidates made the decision to select this option, who influenced their decision, and their reasons for choosing the TBP approach. We found that candidates typically adopted a TBP approach early, strongly influenced by their supervisors, to meet vocational, promotional and process goals. The study has implications for administrators, supervisors and candidates in selecting the thesis mode that suits the unique needs of each candidate.

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Correspondence to Shannon Mason.

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Mason, S., Merga, M.K. & Morris, J.E. Choosing the Thesis by Publication approach: motivations and influencers for doctoral candidates. Aust. Educ. Res. 47, 857–871 (2020).

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  • Doctoral education
  • Thesis by Publication
  • Student motivation