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Doctoral designers: Challenges and opportunities in planning and conducting educational research

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Product Description

Edited by Robyn Henderson and Patrick Alan Danaher

Published: Feb 2008
ISBN: 978-1-921729-91-1
Pages: 70 (PDF version)


The planning and conducting of educational research is neither automatic nor easy. On the contrary, every step in the process involves a complex and sometimes controversial set of decisions and requires the exercise of finely honed judgment about the design and shape of the project and political stances to ensure legitimate, trustworthy and hopefully useful findings.

This collection presents diverse engagements with the processes of planning and conducting educational research by several intending, current and recently graduated doctoral candidates associated with the Faculty of Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

What emerges is a rich array of methodological approaches to research as these particular doctoral designers have reflected on and interrogated the characteristics of doctoral research.

Despite the diversity of approaches, contexts and foci revealed in this theme issue, the papers have in common an engagement with one or more of the following organising questions:

  • Which issues are most important in making decisions about the planning and conduct of an educational research project?
  • Which factors help to facilitate and/or restrict an educational research project’s legitimacy, trustworthiness and utility?
  • How can and should educational researchers negotiate with multiple and sometimes competing stakeholders and gatekeepers?
  • What are the particular challenges and opportunities of designing doctoral educational research?

Their considerations have focused on what was included in their research, along with reflections on what might have been. This decision-making about the intentions and impact of doctoral research offers valuable knowledge about the difficult and challenging task of ‘designing’ doctoral study.

Doctoral design emerges as highly complex, contingent and situated, as involving an emotional as much as an intellectual dimension and as having at times unforeseen implications or unanticipated interactions with other elements of doctoral research. Sometimes it can exhibit rational predictability; at other times serendipity takes a hand and the results can be surprising.

No definitive or permanent ‘answers’ have been adduced from the articles presented here. As much as it is a journey, doctoral design is a text, with multiple authors and sometimes contradictory readings, rereadings and rewritings by researchers and others. This Special Issue is a rich diversity of texts and we commend them to doctoral designers elsewhere.

The International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning encapsulates and synthesises such a rich diversity of strategies, issues, concepts and arguments about educational philosophy, policy and practice that range broadly across contexts, countries and sectors.

Table of Contents

Editorial: Doctoral designers: Challenges and opportunities in planning and conducting educational research
- Robyn Henderson, Patrick Alan Danaher

The whisperings of a Doctor of Philosophy student’s phenomenography
- Mark A Tyler

A practitioner’s journey exploring transformative approaches to the professional development of online educators
- Shirley Reushle

Writing issues in designing doctoral research: Interpretation, representation, legitimation and desiring in investigating the education of Australian show people
- Patrick Alan Danaher

A research approach to investigating curricular innovation: Negotiating the stakeholders and gatekeepers of Korean English language teaching
- Michel N Trottier

A rationale for employing mixed methods design in doctoral research about female students’ academic achievement in secondary schools in Papua New Guinea
- Dinah R Dovona-Ope

Responding to doctoral designers: Dilemmas and decisions

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