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  1. ADAPTIVE KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTIONThe program findings to this point Professor Allyson Holbrook University of Newcastle, NSW Presentation for CHEER 10 October 2011

  2. Overview of the presentation • The work on the doctorate undertaken at SORTI • Selected findings from work on PhD and MPhil examination and quality • Selected findings from on-going work about the doctoral student as a learner • Exploratory work on the learning environment • Adaptive Knowledge Production: A program of research that seeks to understand the processes and conditions necessary for the individual to produce an original contribution to knowledge

  3. The focus of SORTI research on the doctorate Three studies on doctoral examination and quality Peer Review in Education & Physics and Chemistry Study of metacognition & affect Undergraduate researcher ‘readiness’ Indigenous doctorates Cultural variation Discipline studies (eg, Fine Art) Communities Research administration Critical mass & confluence

  4. The diagram above represents the SORTI research program with the candidate as learner at the centre We began by questioning what it was that academics were looking for in a thesis – and in particular its contribution. We saw this as central to identifying goals to frame the learning experience, as well as determining the match between candidate and academic expectation At the time so much about doctoral expectation and examination was ‘invisible’. Authors

  5. The PhD examination studies 1. PhD assessment: An investigation of examiner process, examiner consistency and factors that identify thesis quality across disciplines (2001-5) Holbrook, Bourke & Lovat 2. Modelling and validating an approach to maximise consistency in research thesis examination (2007- 2010) Holbrook & Bourke 3.(underway) A cross-national study of the relative impact of an oral component on PhD examination quality, language and practice (mid 2011-) Holbrook, Bourke, Lovat, Kiley, Paltridge & Starfield Authors

  6. standards DUTY EXAMINATION EMPATHY TERRITORY discipline qualification Elements in PhD examination Examination in balance showing the claims on the examiner

  7. Selected findings: forms of evaluative comment – summative & ‘instructive’ Authors

  8. Indicators of Quality AREA INDICATOR Contribution: (1) Originality of contribution (2) Substantive nature of contribution (3) Advancement of knowledge and/or theory in the discipline Literature review: (1) Completeness of the relevant literature coverage (2) Effective use/application of the literature throughout the thesis (3) Accuracy of interpretation of the literature used Approach/Method: (1) Soundness of approach adopted (2) Effective application of the methods used Analyses/Findings: (1) Appropriateness of the analyses undertaken (2) Effective interpretation of the findings Presentation: (1) Clear and coherent presentation of the study (2) Use of correct grammar and expression throughout the thesis Authors

  9. other selected findings • Recognition primarily in positive summative comment by examiners of effective critique of the work of self and others, depth of knowledge and skills, and the ability to grow and connect ideas - ‘immersion’ • Recognition primarily in summative comment and ‘formative’ of the ability to work with challenging material, openness to new ideas, intellectual risk taking, which we later and in conjunction with the work on metacognition, perceived as ‘mindful uncertainty’ Authors

  10. CONNECTION TO FINDINGS CRITICAL APPRAISAL WORKING UNDERSTAN -DING DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE COVERAGE LITERATURE USE SCHOLARLINESS THESIS PASS ZONE  ACADEMIC ENTRY ZONE* The importance of literature to examiners, use and evidence of the value attached to ‘immersion’ * See Holbrook et al Studies in Higher Education 2007

  11. Getting ‘it’ – the intellectual demands of PhD I see it as a process that is about an investigation that is pushing a boundary of the field . . . and pushing out some sort of new knowledge, and new activity in my area, in a new way. Some people see it as new within their practice. I actually see it that it should be new within my field. I see that practice as a practice of doing, reflecting, trying to come up with other solutions, refinement, working towards other new possibilities within that. . . . To put it into words is actually really difficult. . . . But you go into a PhD one person and you come out another. A lot of what I learned was actually not so much about the research skills but it was around thinking skills. And I use those thinking skills on a daily basis . . . thinking skills, reflective skills and clarification, trying to search for what’s new, what’s innovative . . . it also made me very flexible . (David, PhD graduate) Authors

  12. Studying the learner We also questioned broad assumptions about the doctoral degree candidate as a learner in order to supplement the growing literature on their supervision, experience & satisfaction. This entails exploring • Affective domain: How learners feel about themselves and the task • Metacognitive domain: How they make sense of the task and plan and control its completion • Cognitive domain: What they are actually doing when undertaking the task Authors

  13. Studies of the learner Transition to doctoral study (Shaw). This pioneered methodological developments in journey plots and revealed the importance of ‘connection’. Influences of metacognitive beliefs on success in PhD candidature (Bourke, Cantwell, Scevak, Holbrook) (this study was informed by a 2 institution pilot study) Well-being of doctoral candidates (JaneneBudd) The two studies draw on a questionnaire (administered twice), two interviews with a sub-group, plus monthly ‘journey’ detail. ’ Authors

  14. A complex and differentiated population Whilst significant variation exists in relation to the core intellectual demands of doctoral study, this variation is compounded by further variation in the quality of affective disposition brought to the task, and the quality of response to contingency management demands These variations are reflected in individual attributes: The • sophistication of the candidates’ underlying epistemology • their openness to complex learning, • their awareness and use of regulatory strategies, • their capacity to use task-centred coping and retain focus when confronted with difficulties in candidature Authors

  15. Authors

  16. Scales • 1. Coping (Proactive coping, Reflective coping, Preventative coping, Instrumental and emotional support seeking) • 2. Doctoral Self-efficacy • 3. Volitional Control (Stress reduction, Negative incentives, Self-enhancing behaviours) • 4. Metacognitive Awareness (Knowledge of cognition, Regulation of cognition) • 5. Epistemological Awareness (Structure of knowledge, Acquisition of knowledge) • 6. Need for Cognition • 7. Doctoral Responsibility(whose responsibility is it; who should it be? Preparation phase, Evaluation phase) • 8. Procrastination (Perceived inadequacy, Response to pressure, Pragmatic goal reduction)

  17. COPING & DOCTORAL EFFICACY ZScore Re-ordered

  18. COGNITION & EPISTEMOLOGY ZScore Re-ordered


  20. Dimensions of metacognitive beliefs in doctoral students: Summary descriptions • Coping: “This is challenging, but I have the wherewithal to overcome this and master the task” • Naivety: “I don’t know what this is, I don’t know how to do it, I need help” • Disengagement: “I don’t get it and it’s not my fault” Authors

  21. There appear to be stage and age effects Affective responses: Longer time in candidacy related to less reported use of proactive & preventative coping Older candidates reported greater use of proactive & reflective coping Metacognitive behaviours: Longer time in candidacy related to less use of knowledge about and regulation of their cognitive behaviours Older candidates reported greater use of all the metacognitive behaviours assessed (in positive way) related to cognition and knowledge development Contingency responses: Longer time in candidacy related to taking more responsibility for their studies, and use of self-enhancing strategies, but a greater feeling of felt inadequacy, pragmatic goal reduction and use of negative incentives Older candidates reported more feeling of adequacy and less response to pressure, also (therefore?) less use of stress reduction, but greater use of self- enhancing strategies and also of negative incentives Authors

  22. well-being The first year was probably the toughest. . . . I was doing a lot of experimentation and feeling like I was floundering. A lot of the time I felt as though I was an academic fraud . . . . I did feel like giving up a number of times . . . . I just completely lost faith in what I was doing. Every idea I came up with, I rejected. There were a number of patches like that where I felt dead and starved of ideas. Female (PhD graduate) The level of ‘psychological distress’ appears to be higher in PhD students than for the general population (Janene Budd EARLI 2011)

  23. Student seeks and deals with multiple challenges in an uncertain milieu, but may also experience a significant ‘rift’ FLOW Routinised adaptation Discontinuity/rift

  24. Learning through connection • Mindful of the significant literature on supervision , and supervisor pedagogy, the next step is to more fully explore the learning environment as a whole and how this ties in with candidate progress and changes in behaviours and responses Concepts in the literature: epistemic collectives, communities of practice, epistemic community, academic membership and identity There is quite a deal in the literature, and in recent policies, that focuses on creating the right environment to lead to ‘innovation’ . How do communities of practice work for candidates – what is learned? Authors

  25. High contribution to field Communities of practice, productive connection and contribution Eg: sub- discipline(s) centre(s) corridor & coffee-break group(s) Direction of Formality Low Contribution to field Low personal connection High personal Connection Authors

  26. SUMMING UP The story so far: • the candidate deals with new information and external influences (eg, supervisor advice and support for risk taking) through internal filters, that are also ‘changing’ • these impact on understanding the task, the goals and concepts, and the inherent uncertainties in new KP • and highlight the link between knowing and feeling • As well as the role of ‘others’ in addition to the supervisor in learning and sense-making Indicators of AKP : Adaptive response, mindful uncertainty; immersion; community connection , possibly some form of rupture or rift A doctoral journey is never ‘flat’. Are there particular patterns? Authors

  27. Any questions? Authors