Pressures, Pathways, and Practices: Learning as a First-Year International Research Candidate
The chapter examines the in situ learning of international higher-degree research (IHDR) candidates in their first year of enrolment. This initial year of a research degree is characterized as one of the intense institutional, disciplinary, and research learning (Brown, Navigating international academia: Research student narratives. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2014). Candidates’ learning is examined in the context of broader pressures on doctoral pedagogy as well as in the context of local orientation and academic practices and disciplinary pathways. Learning is understood as “an outcome of participating in practice” (Boud and Hager, Studies in Continuing Education 34(1): 17–30, 2012, p. 23).
Progress in IHDR candidates’ learning is investigated through an extensive ethnographic study supplemented by findings from a precursor evaluation survey. Theoretically the studies draw on practice-based views of learning and knowledge (Gherardi and Strati, Learning and knowing in practice-based studies. Gloucester: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2012; Schatzki, Introduction: Practice theory. In The practice turn in contemporary theory, eds. Schatzki, T.R, K. Knorr Cetina, and E. von Savigny, 1–14. London: Routledge, 2001) and trends in the growing importance of (scientific) knowledge itself in our everyday lives (Knorr Cetina 1999. Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Nerland Research & Occasional Paper Series: Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley 14: 12, 2012).
The aim of the chapter is to highlight how and why participating broadly and proactively in research actions and activities (nested in practices Green, The primacy of practice and the problem of representation. In Understanding and researching professional practice, ed. B. Green, 39–54. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers, 2009b) make a difference to first year IHDR learning. Recommendations are made regarding the importance of attending to the frequency and kind of candidate, supervisory, and disciplinary practices (Maton, Canons and progress in the arts and humanities: Knowers and gazes. In Social realism, knowledge and the sociology of education, eds. K. Maton, and R. Moore. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010) maximizing participatory involvement within disciplines. The depth and richness of the empirical data are likely to provide useful insights useful for international research candidates, their supervisors, and academic staff alike.
KeywordsHigher education Research pedagogy International candidates Learning Epistemic and research(er) practices
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