Knowing Your Research Students: Devising Models of Doctoral Education for Success

  • Santina BertoneEmail author
  • Pamela Green
Reference work entry
Part of the University Development and Administration book series (UDAA)


Australia has experienced a “massification” of graduate research education in recent decades as numbers of research students have risen dramatically. This massification has given rise to considerable diversity within the student population, both in terms of their characteristics and their goals/purpose for undertaking higher degrees by research. This chapter draws on recent insights from 31 of the 80 submissions to the ACOLA (Australian Council of Learned Academies) review of Australia’s Research Training System commissioned by the federal government in 2015. An international literature review was also undertaken. Focusing on doctoral education, we examine the wide range of student characteristics and aims/purposes for the doctorate, including the aims of stakeholders such as industry, and the range of institutional responses to this diversity. We critically discuss the relative merits of these various responses and suggest ways in which they can be conceptualized in a systematic way. A best practice model of managing diverse doctoral students, achieving high quality outcomes and future policy directions are put forward. We argue in this chapter, as have others, that a “one size fits all” approach to doctoral education is neither equitable nor likely to meet all stakeholder expectations. Moreover, attrition and completion rates could be improved by showing a greater focus on diverse student needs and purposes. The purposes of doctoral education vary for different stakeholders, and as such, it is vital that we cater for these diverse needs through systemic models that are tailored to student capabilities, needs, and goals.


Student diversity Doctoral education Australian research training system Socialisation Researcher identity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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