Category Archives: research supervision as advancing knowledge

Arguing (philosophically) for something different in the dissertation

I have previously written about this topic. Recent events have made it timely to revisit those original thoughts. I have just completed a tour of three universities in the U.K. at which I have been presenting a cabaret on ‘what … Continue reading

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It’s all about the coffee

When I first attended university in the early seventies, my university celebrated the fact that it added a coffee shop into the union building. This was admittedly after they had negotiated to have a bar on site. At my current … Continue reading

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Research supervision as Contribution to Knowledge

The idea that one supervises to advance knowledge draws its energy from the often unstated expectation that a research degree is intended to make a contribution to knowledge. This expectation was made explicit in the recent Bologna agreement (Floud, 2006) … Continue reading

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Mastering the language of research to make a contribution to knowledge

Recently when I was visiting a country in which English is not the dominant language, I was made aware of the important role played by language in the pursuit of knowledge. The connections to undertaking a research degree were uncanny! … Continue reading

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How I know rather than what I know

The research degree is intended to make a contribution to knowledge through original research. Many research students start their candidature identifying what is known about their topic by undertaking a literature review. Sometimes they may even begin this task by … Continue reading

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Problematising knowledge which has been drawn from experience

Research practice has a long provenance dating back to the Ancient Greeks. During the Enlightenment period, the emergence of scientific method so influenced research practice that for some time this was the accepted approach. This dominance was challenged during the … Continue reading

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Authorship- who has actually written the dissertation?

For many research degree candidates, the skills of writing a dissertation are not innate. They are acquired across the course of the research student’s candidature, using a predominant learning model that involves the research student providing samples of their academic … Continue reading

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How can you tell when there has been a contribution to knowledge (in a doctoral research study)?

Doctoral research, by definition, usually involves a contribution to knowledge. This requirement is often made explicit in the various university policies which define the nature of their doctoral degrees. As an examiner of dissertations, this is one of the elements … Continue reading

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Making sure that there is sufficient Ph in a PhD

I have spent the past four weeks hosting communities of practice around the questions of ‘what is research?’ and ‘what is research supervision?’. It surprised me when these discussions embraced issues such as paradigm, that some research supervisors in the … Continue reading

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