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ERIC Number: EJ1102674
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1837-6290
Differing Motivations and Requirements in PhD Student Cohorts: A Case Study
Naylor, Ryan; Chakravarti, Sumone; Baik, Chi
Issues in Educational Research, v26 n2 p351-367 2016
The PhD student experience is an increasingly important area of education research in Australia and internationally. Although many factors supporting the PhD experience have been identified, there has been a tendency towards examining the issue through a cohort-wide lens, in which the nuances of experience of smaller groups and individuals may be lost. This paper seeks to illustrate this issue using a case study from an Australian institution. Here, we use thematic analysis of focus group interviews to examine the experiences and expectations of two distinct cohorts of PhD students (one from science backgrounds and one from clinical backgrounds) studying in the same discipline. This qualitative study shows that while students from clinical backgrounds are similar in many of their reported challenges and needs for support, there are some important differences, particularly with respect to their motivations for undertaking a PhD, their technical skills and opportunities for academic development. These findings demonstrate opportunities for university leaders and academic developers to better support clinical students in their PhDs, and provide a case study illustrating the value of more detailed cohort analyses to support the PhD experience for an increasingly large and diverse population.
Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. 5/202 Coode Street, Como, Western Australia 6152, Australia. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A