Challenging the Taken-For-Granted: How Research Can Inform Doctoral Education Policy and Practice

  • Lynn McAlpine
  • Cheryl Amundsen


Policies and practices within institutions are often built on taken-for-granted practices (without the benefit of evidence) or result from external calls for accountability (perhaps accepted without evidence to challenge such calls) that exacerbate the documented tensions and challenges reported by doctoral students and pre-tenure academics. We suggest there is a need for evidence-based perspectives to support the rethinking of certain doctoral policies and practices, and perhaps to challenge external drivers that are placing increasing demands on academics and we have been particularly attentive to this possible use of our research findings. In this chapter, we provide four examples of our efforts to use our research findings in this way. We hope they may stimulate reflection amongst those in academia, including administrators and more senior academics, about how such evidence might influence institutional change towards more research-informed practice and policy, and perhaps lead to challenges of external calls for particular forms of accountability.


Doctoral Student Academic Work Informal Learning Academic Position Senior Faculty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordSuite 4, OxfordUK
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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