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dc.contributor.advisorCrow, Graham
dc.contributor.advisorGayle, Vernon
dc.contributor.authorVettini, Amanda
dc.date.accessioned2021-09-17T11:11:22Z
dc.date.available2021-09-17T11:11:22Z
dc.date.issued2020-11-30
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1842/38070
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.7488/era/1341
dc.description.abstractSocial sciences research students in the UK have experienced major contextual changes to their doctoral studies over recent decades. Compared to minimal and piecemeal training received by doctoral students in the 1970s, doctoral students now undertake their studies in more highly structured and regulated institutional environments. Influencing such study environments, guidelines have been developed not only for doctoral training in qualitative and quantitative research methods but also career preparation within and beyond academia. The current structure of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs), formerly Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) and supported by universities and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is the outcome of a series of changes introduced over a long period intended to prepare researchers for modern employment conditions. The contemporary doctoral student is expected to graduate, not solely with a PhD thesis that contributes to knowledge in a particular field, but also with skills and competencies to enable a successful research career. Such abilities and aptitudes referenced in the guidelines include analytical, communication, leadership and teamwork skills and an ability to stimulate impact and change in the non-academic world. Curriculum extension for social science research students has some good arguments to support it, not least concerns to boost academic and non-academic employability among PhD graduates and to enhance the relevance of social science research. There are, however, some indications that students find the new training arrangements stretching to some degree. Moreover, it is suggested that universities also experience challenges in meeting the increased demands of providing specified training and the administration of doctorates. Against this backdrop of change to higher education, such as its massification and marketisation, moves to increased interdisciplinarity, paradigm shifts in employment, developments in the training infrastructure and the introduction of DTPs must be evaluated with reference to this wider picture. Drawing on a social constructionist approach and with reference to the sociology of work, this study sets out to investigate the extent to which the new training arrangements have expanded opportunities open to social science research students and whether there are also tensions in the overall project. This thesis draws on original data collected through diaries, interviews and questionnaires with research students across a range of social science disciplines, interviews with key informants who have played roles in the introduction and assessment of the new training framework as it unfolded, and analysis of key documents. An argument is developed that extending what was required of research students is placing them, their supervisors and potentially their institutions, under increasing and intense pressure. Within this climate where many feel ‘something has to give’, the goals that the new infrastructure seeks to secure may be challenging to achieve in their entirety. The question becomes, which goals will, or must, be sacrificed and what are the critical priorities? The thesis draws on the recognition that research students’ backgrounds, learning styles, motivations for doctoral study and ambitions are heterogeneous yet arguably ‘standardised’ doctoral and Masters degree training models assume student homogeneity. Within group differences among postgraduate students underpin this thesis’ approach to evaluating the success of changes to the research student training landscape, and to identifying certain modifications offering potential to make its operation more effective. The thesis also develops an analysis of the perennial tension between the pursuit of ‘breadth’ and ‘depth’ of knowledge and skills in the curriculum. Concerns that training standardisation may result in loss of innovation and technical research depth, and the salience of individualisation versus standardisation, are foregrounded as fundamental issues and challenges.en
dc.contributor.sponsorEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.subjectresearch methods trainingen
dc.subjectpostgraduate social science studentsen
dc.subjectresearch methods knowledgeen
dc.subjecttraining infrastructureen
dc.subjectstudent heterogeneity and needsen
dc.subjectindividualised training decisionsen
dc.subjectsocial science researchen
dc.titleHas something got to give? Tensions and opportunities in achieving both a UK social science doctorate and ESRC-specified research and skills trainingen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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