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Academic conferences as learning sites: A multinational comparison of doctoral students perspectives and institutional policy

Fakunle, O, Dollinger, Mollie, Alla-Mensah, J and Izard, B 2019, Academic conferences as learning sites: A multinational comparison of doctoral students perspectives and institutional policy, International Journal of Doctoral Studies, vol. 14, pp. 479-497, doi: 10.28945/4383.

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Title Academic conferences as learning sites: A multinational comparison of doctoral students perspectives and institutional policy
Author(s) Fakunle, O
Dollinger, Mollie
Alla-Mensah, J
Izard, B
Journal name International Journal of Doctoral Studies
Volume number 14
Start page 479
End page 497
Total pages 19
Publisher Informing Science Institute
Place of publication Santa Rosa, Calif.
Publication date 2019
ISSN 1556-8881
1556-8873
Keyword(s) doctoral education
doctoral/PhD students
networking
academic conference
academic workforce
Summary Aim/Purpose: The aim of this paper is to explore trends and motivations for doctoral students’ participation in domestic and international conferences. We draw on doctoral students’ perceptions and experiences from four contexts (USA, Scotland, England, Australia) to further explore variations across different global contexts. Background: There is increased recognition of the importance of conferences within doctoral education. Yet very little is known or understood about doctoral students’ participation and motivations for participating in conferences. Methodology: Our sample includes doctoral students from four institutions studying in a School of Education. We used an online survey and follow-up focus group interviews to investigate doctoral students’ perceptions and experiences of conferences. Contribution: There are few studies on doctoral students’ participation in conferences. This study contributes to the literature on doctoral students as it investigates the trends and rationale for doctoral students’ participation in national and international conferences. We highlight the importance of conferences as learning sites for doctoral students. Furthermore, our research highlights dissimilarities and ambiguities in the provision of support for doctoral students’ regarding what we describe as the social aspect of their researcher learning and development, in this case, in networking activities. Findings: Our findings show that a) at both the individual (doctoral students) and institutional level, there is an implicit understanding of the importance of networking and yet programs rarely formally require conference attendance; b) students’ motivations to attend conferences may be mediated by their career aspirations and supportive structures (i.e., funding); and c) conferences support doctoral students’ learning and confidence in future networking. Recommendations for Practitioners: Our recommendations to doctoral education training programs and/or supervisors are to explicitly discuss and promote networking and/or conference attendance, and to find ways to support students to engage in networking outside their immediate study environment. Recommendation for Researchers: Our recommendation to researchers is to further investigate the importance of networking behaviors and experiences on doctoral student training and/or career outcomes. Impact on Society: This research highlights the importance of recognizing the learning needs of doctoral students who are expected to work in a complex, globally connected society as part of the reality of higher education in the 21st century. Future Research: Results from the study could help inform a larger study on the trends and motivations of doctoral students’ networking across all disciplines.
Language eng
DOI 10.28945/4383
Field of Research 1301 Education Systems
1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30154375

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.