Choosing to study for a PhD: A framework for examining decisions to become a research student
Thursday, 1 June 2017 | Admin
by Alistair McCulloch (University of South Australia), Cally Guerin (University of Adelaide), Asangi Jayatilaka (University of Adelaide), Paul Calder (Flinders University) and Damith Ranasinghe (University of Adelaide)
Given its importance to institutions, policy-makers and intending students, there is a surprising lack of research exploring the reasons students choose to undertake a research degree. What studies there are tend to be largely descriptive and the topic lacks a theoretically-informed framework through which student decisions can be examined and comparative work developed. We outline such a framework drawing on self-determination theory and social cognitive career theory. Our framework comprises five categories: autonomy; relatedness; competence and self-efficacy; outcome expectations; and, goals. To assess its utility, the framework is used to interrogate data generated through a series of focus groups involving PhD students studying in Australia in the area of information and communications technology.The framework proved capable of organising data in a robust, comprehensive and coherent way.