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ERIC Number: EJ1176665
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
Mapping the Field of Higher Education Research Using PhD Examination Reports
McKenna, Sioux; Quinn, Lynn; Vorster, Jo-Anne
Higher Education Research and Development, v37 n3 p579-592 2018
The PhD is the highest formal qualification and signifies a scholar's rite of passage as a legitimate contributor of new knowledge in a field. Examiner reports make claims about what is legitimate in a thesis and what is not and thus articulate the organising principles through which participation in a field is measured. The authors analysed 39 examiners' reports on 13 PhDs produced over a five-year period by scholars from the Higher Education Research doctoral studies programme at Rhodes University in South Africa. Drawing on aspects of Karl Maton's Legitimation Code Theory (LCT), this study uses the dimensions of LCT:Specialisation and LCT:Semantics to explore what kinds of knowledge, skills and procedures and what kinds of knowers are validated in the field of Higher Education Research through the examination process. The study found that despite concerns in the literature about the a-theoretical nature of the Higher Education Studies field, examiners valued high-level theoretical and meta-theoretical engagement as well as methodological rigour. In addition, examiners prized the ability to demonstrate a strong ideological position, to use a clear doctoral voice, and to recognise the axiological drive of the field. The analysis showed that examiners were interested in strong contextualisation of the problem-spaces in higher education in South Africa but also commented positively on candidates' ability to move from troubling an issue within its context to being able to abstract findings so as to contribute to the field as a whole.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A