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  • 1 Institute of English Studies, University of Graz, Austria
  • 2 Institute for Mathematics, University of Graz, Austria
  • 3 Department of Innovative Education and Inclusion, KPH Graz, Austria
  • 4 Institute of Romance Studies, University of Graz, Austria
  • 5 Centre for Language, Plurilingualism and Didactics, University of Graz, Austria
  • 6 Department of English and American Studies, University of Maribor, Slovenia
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Background and aims

In this paper, we report on research conducted as a project, which was part of a PhD course on research methodology. The aim of the course was to develop participants’ practical researcher competence and to enhance their critical thinking skills. To meet these aims, the group collectively engaged in an empirical study into the shifting and potentially conflicting identities of teachers choosing to engage in occupation-based PhD studies (i.e., PhD studies with a professional focus, undertaken additionally to full- or part-time teaching jobs) at a university in Austria.

Methods

The study was based on a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with eight PhD candidates, who are all studying toward a PhD in “Fachdidaktik” (“subject-specific teaching and learning”) in different disciplines. To better understand the multiple identities, perceived dynamics, and role of diverse social settings, we took an ecological perspective.

Results and conclusion

The findings revealed how the participants’ academic identities were shaped within their own unique ecologies comprising their own personal, professional, and academic contexts, social relationships, attitudes toward each of these domains, perceived demands on their time, and their own initial and ongoing motivations for doing the PhD. Although the participants’ multiple identities and roles can function in synergistic ways, the data suggest that more often they experienced competing demands for time and attention with sometimes a lack of understanding or support from the respective professional or academic domains.

Abstract

Background and aims

In this paper, we report on research conducted as a project, which was part of a PhD course on research methodology. The aim of the course was to develop participants’ practical researcher competence and to enhance their critical thinking skills. To meet these aims, the group collectively engaged in an empirical study into the shifting and potentially conflicting identities of teachers choosing to engage in occupation-based PhD studies (i.e., PhD studies with a professional focus, undertaken additionally to full- or part-time teaching jobs) at a university in Austria.

Methods

The study was based on a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with eight PhD candidates, who are all studying toward a PhD in “Fachdidaktik” (“subject-specific teaching and learning”) in different disciplines. To better understand the multiple identities, perceived dynamics, and role of diverse social settings, we took an ecological perspective.

Results and conclusion

The findings revealed how the participants’ academic identities were shaped within their own unique ecologies comprising their own personal, professional, and academic contexts, social relationships, attitudes toward each of these domains, perceived demands on their time, and their own initial and ongoing motivations for doing the PhD. Although the participants’ multiple identities and roles can function in synergistic ways, the data suggest that more often they experienced competing demands for time and attention with sometimes a lack of understanding or support from the respective professional or academic domains.

Introduction

In this paper, we report on research conducted as a project, which was part of a PhD course on research methodology. The aim of the course was to develop participants’ practical researcher competence and to enhance their critical thinking skills. To meet these aims, the group collectively engaged in an empirical study into an area of immediate interest to all participants. This form of experiential learning took place under the guidance of the course leader. The focus of the study conducted within this course was on the shifting and potentially conflicting identities of teachers choosing to engage in occupation-based PhD studies (i.e., PhD studies with a professional focus, typically undertaken alongside full- or part-time teaching jobs) at a university in Austria. This inquiry connected our own professional development with the ongoing debates in the literature on the development of academic and professional identities. We understand identity as being dynamic and constantly constructed through a “complex, profound, and tacit process” (Fernández-Fernández & Fraile, 2016, p. 57) influenced by our social interaction with others within both our private and academic contexts (cf. Kreber, 2010; Sheridan, 2013). As a group of teachers and researchers, we were conscious of prevailing attitudes in our academic context, which position such profession-oriented PhDs in the field of education as being somehow inferior to “pure” subject-based PhDs. We were therefore motivated to explore these problematic social dynamics, and to consider how doctoral candidates themselves managed the multiple identities associated with doing occupation-based PhDs alongside their working roles. The study was based on a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with eight PhD candidates, who are all studying toward a PhD in “Fachdidaktik” (“subject-specific teaching and learning”) in different disciplines. To better understand the multiple identities, perceived dynamics and role of diverse social settings, we took an ecological perspective, which we felt was best suited to conveying the inherent complexity, uniqueness, and situatedness of the participants’ experiences.

Problematising Doctoral Students’ Identities

Doing a PhD is one of the greatest personal challenges one can undertake; doing so alongside a full- or even part-time job adds another layer of difficulty to what is already a demanding task. Among other complications, it can generate role ambiguity for candidates, both in terms of how they are perceived by others and in terms of how they perceive themselves. This role ambiguity can be intensified as a result of the structure of the PhD program, particularities of the academic discipline, as well as the nature of personal, professional, and social support available.

Our study looks into the construction and perception of identities within an academic domain particular to the German-speaking world, called “Fachdidaktik.” This can be defined as the scientific study of content and skills necessary to teach specific subjects. Fachdidaktik differs from general pedagogy in that it is domain-specific, that is, there is Fachdidaktik for English, for instance, which is concerned with teaching the English language, as distinct from Fachdidaktik for maths and so on. From our experience, the status of “Fachdidaktik” within the Austrian academic setting is problematic; a fact, which may cause difficulties in the development of the doctoral students’ multiple professional identities. Examples of such problems include institutional inequality, such as a lack of professorships; reputational issues, for example, unequal status compared to supposedly more theoretical academic disciplines; and practical problems, including an explicit lack of support for young academics in this field (Dalton-Puffer et al., 2011). Despite recent improvements, the continuing ambiguity regarding the nature of Fachdidaktik studies, was one of the driving motivations underlying this study, which was conducted by students all doing their PhDs in the field of Fachdidaktik across a range of different disciplines; all of whom also reported having experienced such difficulties.

Occupation-based professional PhDs

Engaging in an occupation-based PhD brings with it a multitude of unique identity-related challenges. One of the biggest is how to bridge the theory-practice divide (Feldmann et al., 1998). The demands of a PhD typically require rigorous academic endeavor and a thorough engagement with the theoretical literature and empirical methodology. Yet, at the same time, many of the motivations for those doing occupation-based PhDs connect to practical concerns, and the link between their PhD and their practice is often central among them. This tension results in challenges reported in balancing academic and organizational or professional roles, as is frequently reported in the literature, particularly in connection to action research, which is often employed in education-based studies (e.g., Holian & Coghlan, 2013).

PhD studies in Austria are generally linked to a specific academic field and are typically considered a full-time job, which can often go hand in hand with a paid position at university or a scholarship. The introduction of the Doctoral Program for Fachdidaktik in 2013 at our university profoundly changed this situation. For the first time, this program offers an opportunity for teachers and professionals in related areas to earn a PhD in a field relevant for their work. In contrast to traditional PhDs, the program brings together different subject areas. It is not connected to a single faculty but links different faculties in the university such as the humanities and the natural sciences. As it offers an occupation-based PhD, it can also be seen as bridging the gap between the subject itself and educational sciences related to the teaching and learning of that subject (Sander, in press).

Since the introduction of the program, Fachdidaktik has been growing in popularity. However, a perpetual problem for scholars in this area in Austria has been the perceived condescension of many colleagues in what might be termed “non-applied” disciplines (Fachwissenschaft), who have been known to view such occupation-based PhDs as inferior and less academic. A possible reason for this is the inherently applied nature and context of such scholarly work. From our perspective, it remains difficult to understand why managing these dual contexts and sets of responsibilities should be viewed as in any way less rigorously academic. Indeed, some might argue that it requires even greater sets of skills to balance diverse roles, and to manage to effectively and convincingly traverse the theory and practice divide. At the very least, we would argue that meeting the challenges posed by contemporary educational problems requires insights, which call for a multiplicity of expertise and perspectives, and that applied academic approaches lend themselves well to such challenges.

Fundamentally, this is perhaps part of a broader debate about the value placed on different types of knowledge and the unequal relationship between top-down and bottom-up perspectives in education. In the UK, for example, there has been a notable growth of occupation-based doctorates (Costley, 2014). Certainly, one drive behind such degrees has been the recognition of the value of practitioner-based knowledge and the rising recognition and esteem of practical experience. Their growth has also served to counter some of the criticisms of traditional PhDs, which were seen as offering little in the way of career advancement and employment opportunities beyond the academy, given their narrow focus and limited utility value in some cases (Evans, 2002).

Another identity-related challenge for those doing occupation-based PhDs is the fact candidates are often also working concurrently to their studies. This is particularly the case in our setting, in which the vast majority of those doing a Fachdidaktik PhD are also employed part-time or even full-time in schools or other educational settings. Very often, these PhD students are also bound to family commitments and find themselves juggling their academic, professional, and personal responsibilities (Jazvac-Martek, Chen, & McAlpine, 2011), which have been acknowledged as reasons leading to relatively high drop-out rates among part-time postgraduates (Evans, 2002). In addition, the different life stages can also affect PhD candidates’ attitudes toward their studies and degree of time available for research. Research on part-time graduate students has also shown that it naturally takes longer for part-time scholars to finish their studies (Bourke, Holbrook, Lovat, & Farley, 2004), which can put a strain on their levels of motivation, resilience, and persistence required to complete.

Finally, identity-related issues might also connect to the students’ motivations for commencing an occupation-based PhD. According to Ho, Kember, and Hong (2012), these motivations can fall into six main categories: (a) qualification-driven motivations, (b) current career, or (c) future career motivations, (d) interest, (e) being a perpetual student with a general love of learning, and (f) the search for social and professional benefits. These diverse motivations connect differently with students’ identities and their relationships to their studies as well as their persistence and willingness to invest time and energy in the process.

Ecological perspectives on identities

In this study, we wanted to explore the social challenges and multiple identities that postgraduates who are engaged in an occupation-based professional PhDs in Fachdidaktik face in the Austrian context. Recognizing that every individual has their own constellation of commitments, responsibilities, shifting priorities, and social pressures, we chose to take an ecological perspective to our investigation of the identities of the postgraduates in this study. An ecological perspective examines the interactions between an individual and their multiple contexts. Given the diverse contexts and highly individual ecologies in which all of the participants are embedded, we felt an ecological perspective had the most validity in capturing in detail how the differing motivations, roles, responsibilities, social support, and/or pressures contributed to the multiple identities lived by the participants engaged in these PhDs.

Seen from a biological perspective, ecology (from Greek oikos – house, environment and logos – word, and by extension discourse) deals with the relationship between an organism and its environment. In his Ecological Systems Theory, Bronfenbrenner (1989) describes how human development is influenced by different types of environmental systems. He differentiates between micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and chronosystems, which influence a person. Whereas the microlevel describes the direct social interactions such as with family, friends and classmates, the mesolevel deals with the relationships between the different microsystems. The exolevel describes larger social systems and is embedded in the macrolevel, which describes cultural levels and customs. The chronosystems in this theory take into consideration the time factor and the continual dynamics of systems and individuals across time. In our case, we wanted to understand how the individuals formed and enacted their identities with respect to their PhDs, if and to what extent their multiple identities were related and how all of these were socially situated within their different unique ecologies at different levels of the systems across time.

The research questions underlying this study are:

  1. What are the multiple identities of the PhD candidates in this study in relation to their studies?
  2. How are their identities supported or challenged by various dimensions of their ecologies?

Methodology

This study was conducted within the bounds of a 15-week research methods course, which took place between October 2015 and February 2016, and was offered to PhD students studying Fachdidaktik. Despite this overlap in the nature of their PhD work, the course participants (hereafter, “the students”) were all at different stages of their PhDs, and crucially, had various levels of knowledge and expertise regarding empirical design. To address this heterogeneity, it was decided that an experiential-based teaching approach would be an appropriate way to develop their research skills.

To this end, the students collaborated in designing and conducting a study, under the guidance of the course leader, focusing on a topic collectively decided upon, which reflected their own realities and concerns. As autoethnography was deemed by the students to be too personal, it was unanimously decided to investigate the situations of others also doing their PhDs in the area of Fachdidaktik.

It was felt that the students’ “insider” perspective would ultimately be invaluable in revealing nuances in the data and developing sensitized questions for the interviews. Indeed, these shared frames of reference and insider background-knowledge about the interviewees were felt to be an asset during the study in sensitizing the researchers to areas worthy of further investigation as well as unexpected or unusual findings. Further, their shared identities with the participants were also beneficial in generating a positive relationship, which we believe facilitated more open and honest interactions in the interviews. Nevertheless, it was sometimes a challenge for the researchers to maintain the requisite distance and neutrality in the interviews in places. To address this, the researchers critically reflected on these instances in the transcripts and potential problems were reflexively highlighted during individual analysis, as well as in the group discussions. Moreover, it was recognized that all researchers and the course leader have strong emotional investments in the topic and care has been taken to reflect explicitly and consciously on this throughout.

Participants

The eight participants for the study were volunteers, who were selected through convenience sampling. They were all working on their Fachdidaktik PhDs at the same university where the research course was being held. They were at different stages of their studies and in different personal and professional situations. All participants were assigned pseudonyms and a summary of their basic data can be found in Table 1.

Table 1.

Basic biodata of participants

PseudonymGenderAgeAcademic disciplineMode of studyYears of teaching experienceSpecial circumstances
AnaFemale34English didacticsFull-time8Has a scholarship and is from a country outside of Austria. Has taught but is not teaching currently.
BernhardMale33Doctoral School Natural Sciences – Mathematics didacticsPart-time7.5Has already finished a PhD-study in mathematics. He is currently teaching at a university for teacher education.
CarinaFemale59Didactics of translation studiesPart-time19Part-time teacher at a university for Italian Language and Culture. Many family commitments.
DanielaFemale33English didacticsFull-time4English Full-time teacher at a University of Applied Sciences in Austria.
EvelynFemale32English didacticsPart-time5Full-time English teacher at a secondary school in Austria, who also works in teacher education.
FranziskaFemale28Doctoral School Natural Sciences – Mathematics didacticsPart-time4Full-time teacher. Actually in a natural-science-doctoral program but chose a Fachdidaktik-related issue. Boyfriend is in a PhD program too.
GerhildFemale28English didacticsPart-time7Partner is also doing a PhD in Fachdidaktik, PhD work can be directly applied to her work, as she is teaching English didactics at a college for teacher education.
HelenaFemale32English didacticsFull-time (currently on maternity leave)8Has always been a full-time teacher and does PhD besides teaching – currently on maternity leave but planning on returning as soon as possible.

Data generation

The data were collected through in-depth interviews (Niebert & Gropengießer, 2014), in some cases supported by additional multimedia artefacts such as thought mind-maps. Interviews were chosen because their relatively unstructured format enables interviewers to focus on the major points of interest or a certain problem and also to probe and follow up on issues raised. Using semi-structured interviews offers a great degree of openness while still providing structure through the pre-designed interview questions. Such an interview format allows for a degree of comparability across interviewees but retains the uniqueness and individuality of respondents (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2007; Hopf, 2013; Kvale & Brinkman, 2009).

Each student in the course conducted an interview of their own following the semi-structured interview guide provided in the Appendix. The interviews were conducted in either English or German depending on the preference of those taking part. They lasted between 34 min and 80 min.

Data analysis

Each student transcribed their own interviews following the same basic guidelines agreed upon in class and concentrated on content, rather than linguistic transcription. Before coding began, everybody read all of the transcripts, and issues arising in the data were discussed by the whole group with the course leader. Each individual then coded their own interview separately taking a bottom-up approach, letting the data speak as far as possible, and focusing on their own emergent themes. Students used either MAXQDA, F4 Analyse, or ATLAS.ti, and all of them kept memos during the multiple waves of coding. To avoid mutual influences of coding, no comparison of code lists was done until the coding process was “saturated,” and everyone felt that no further coding was possible for their transcript. This approach was taken to ensure the individual voices and perspectives were maintained and to facilitate a multiplicity of viewpoints on the data. However, the final step was a comparison of the code lists and memos looking for commonalities and key themes, as well as uniqueness. This led the group to conclude that the individual social contexts played a central role in the identity constructions of all of the participants and for this reason, we chose to address the findings primarily in terms of an ecology of each individual. In the Discussion section, we reflect on some of the common themes as well as individuality evinced in the data. A brief overview of the coding categories that were agreed upon as a group during the refining process can be found in the Appendix.

Ethics

The participants were recruited among the students’ and the course leader’s personal and professional networks. A consent form, which included all of the necessary information on the aims and procedures of the study and an assurance of full outside anonymity for the participants, was sent to all possible participants. The participants were assured that names and other identifying information would be removed or changed before any data analysis took place. Furthermore, they were explicitly advised that some researchers within the group, including the course leader, might recognize their identity even from anonymized data, and they were given the option to not participate if they felt that this potential breach hindered them from taking part, or being able to give their opinions openly and honestly. As far as can be ascertained from a critical consideration of the transcripts, it does not appear that any of the participants withheld their honest opinions.

Results

The results are presented in the form of an ecological view of each participant and their unique set of identities, motivations, and contextual interactions. Commonalities across the participants will be reflected upon in the Discussion section.

Ana

It is perhaps relevant to an understanding of Ana’s identities to know that she comes from a culture and country outside Europe and has moved to Austria in order to conduct her PhD studies on the basis of a full-time scholarship. In her data, the two most salient systems are her sociocultural and personal family systems. For Ana, her roles as sister and daughter are tightly connected with her role and identities within the context of her PhD. She reports feeling a sense of guilt toward her family and mentions her mother’s passing as a pivotal moment. At that point, she felt that she was supposed to take over her mother’s duties within the family as her culture expects, but she could not do so as she is geographically removed from her family. In addition, she feels that the PhD is taking up large amounts of time, which again leaves her little time to dedicate to her family, as she explains in the interview:

[…] everyone expects me to play a certain role now in her absence, and in fact I also feel guilty for not playing my role. I think that makes a huge difference in my life and probably is one of the reasons why I’m not, I don’t enjoy doing my PhD now.

The changes and dynamics in the roles of her family system have led to changes in her attitudes toward and feelings about her PhD. These conflicting demands on her time and attention generate negative emotions toward her studies as well as frustration and negative emotions in respect to herself in her role as daughter and sister. This social positioning as she experiences it leads to conflict in her roles and identities and this ongoing conflict dominates her data:

You’re, you’re as a girl, as a, I don’t know, you’re, you have certain relationships and you’re linked with that, I’m not just me as a PhD student. I’m me as a PhD student related to certain other individuals who expect certain things from me. So when I see myself whether I’m being able to do, fulfil all my responsibilities as a daughter, as a sister, so I sometimes see myself not doing well in that domain, so I sound like: “Well what’s the use of this PhD when I’m failing in all the other domains?” I start questioning that also.

For Ana, it is impossible to separate her life and identities as a PhD student from her personal family identities and roles, which in turn are at least partially defined within her specific cultural setting. Thus, although she has decided for the moment to persevere with her PhD, she has found herself to be less motivated and finding less satisfaction from her PhD work. It is apparent that her identity as a PhD student is challenged by her identities as a daughter and sister in a way that does not seem harmonious but one of conflict that is as yet unresolved.

On a more positive note, her identity as a teacher seems to play a positive role in relation to her PhD student identity, as she is convinced that she has gained knowledge about teaching through her research, which she believes will help her in her teaching:

Definitely, I think I’ve learned, even though I haven’t practiced teaching for the last 3 or 4 years now. […] I’ve matured yes. Matured in terms of my thinking, and also the fact that I’m studying psychology and teacher psychology has made me realise so many things about myself as a teacher.

Bernhard

From an ecological perspective, Bernhard is embedded in three interwoven contexts: the academic system, the personal/social system, and the working/professional system. The academic system, which centers around his work as a doctoral student, is not as salient in his data as Bernhard has already finished all of the necessary courses and is currently focusing on completing the writing of his thesis, which is done primarily at home and not in a formalized academic setting. His social system appears far more important to him and seems to act as a substantial catalyst for his PhD, as his wife is also doing her PhD at the same time. This means that they help and support each other, because they spend their free time writing their theses and have a strong empathetic understanding for each other, since they engage in a similar academic work. This harmony and interaction between these two systems is highly synergistic and positive for his identity and roles as a PhD candidate. Nevertheless, Bernhard states that his private life is his top priority and if something unexpected happened in his private life, he would deal with these issues first and prioritize them over his PhD, even if this means that his writing gets postponed:

If a conversion of a house is necessary or if there is any problem within the family, for example, whatever, a serious illness, then this again is a situation, in which one has to say, okay, I have reserved my time for it but because of prioritising the family or this other situation, this leads to postponing it (the dissertation) again.

The other system, which is also salient in his data, is his professional system. Bernhard has a strong sense of obligation toward his professional role (i.e., being a college professor), his employer and working colleagues. He states that obligations for work have to come first and sometimes he has to take a break from his work on his PhD due to other professional commitments. In the coming together of these two worlds, one of the biggest problems, which is familiar throughout the literature, is the issue of time. He clearly states that he feels that he does not have enough time to complete his dissertation because his job commandeers his time. His main wish for the future would be to have time off in order to finish his PhD.

Bernhard is also unique because he is the only participant who has already finished one PhD and this current Fachdidaktik PhD is his second (but the first involving empirical research). This means he is well aware of the issues involved and therefore is perhaps more realistic about the challenges of balancing the multiple demands on his time and attention. Interestingly, Bernhard rarely talks about his identity as a PhD student perhaps because he is already somehow physically and mentally removed from university life and possibly because this status is no longer novel for him.

Carina

For Carina, there is little distance between her professional and academic systems, as she teaches at the university, where she is also doing her PhD. Carina often talks about not having enough time for her dissertation, as well as experiencing difficulties with time management balancing the commitments of teaching at the university alongside her wish to study. Thus, even though the overall system setting is the same, her roles and commitments within the system are different and, in fact, appear to pull her in opposing directions. In addition, she finds herself being torn between her professional and personal environments, as she lacks time for her family, due to her professional commitments as a teacher. This means she continually seeks to divide her time between her job as a teacher, which takes priority, and then her family and her PhD.

However, there is also some synergy between the systems as Carina enthusiastically talks about her lessons, how she reflects on them and creates them purposefully and with more confidence, ever since she engaged in her “Fachdidaktik” PhD. She emphasizes how much she has profited from engaging with related literature for her teaching practice. At the same time, she stresses the extent to which she feels she has changed in her personal life due to her PhD, and how it influences her daily lifestyle. She reports feeling more relaxed when making decisions, more self-confident, more eager to take decisions, more patient with herself, and taking more time for decision making: “It has influenced the way I think,” and “I have the feeling that I see certain processes and things clearer.” In Carina’s data, the different systems interconnect and although there are also tensions, she personally sees more positive overlap between the systems.

Daniela

Daniela has been employed for the last four years as a full-time English teacher at a University of Applied Sciences in Austria. Considering her average week of 40 working hours, her professional responsibilities understandably occupy the largest part of her time and in turn identities. Her professional context is different to teachers from school in that it allows her to both teach English as well as do research, including publishing, or presenting her work at conferences. However, writing a PhD is not a professional requirement to stay in her position, and there is no pressure from the university for her to complete it. Rather, although her work setting dominates her attention, it is also an enabling setting for her PhD identities and commitments even if not explicitly so. Indeed, the topic of her PhD is also about her own work context so again the two systems interconnect with each other in mutually constructive ways. In the interview, she also states that being able to identify with the topic of the thesis was one of the essential prerequisites for writing a thesis. It means her primary motivation stems from her experiences as a teacher, and so in her PhD, she draws on experiences and identities in both her role as a teacher and in her professional context domain as well as in respect to research.

However, interestingly, Daniela does not see herself as a PhD student and, indeed, any explicit mention of this identity is totally absent from her data. Nevertheless, she talks about her PhD in very positive terms and she too argues that her work as a teacher has also improved as a result of doing a PhD:

It is true that you enter the classroom differently. You can explain many things to them, that you would not have known without writing a doctoral thesis. This starts with designing the right research questions and includes the question of which methodological approach you can choose, things I would not have known in the beginning of my professional life, for sure. In that case I might not have agreed to teaching the course “Scientific Working.” Otherwise, I would have never said I would teach the course, because this is, after all, your decision whether you do it or not.

As was the case with other participants, Daniela bemoaned the problem of not having the time she would wish for her thesis given her work commitments. Indeed, she felt so strongly about this that she said the perfect situation would be to do the PhD full time and she would warn newcomers against doing the thesis again in combination with a full-time job.

Evelyn

Evelyn straddles multiple ecologies in different roles. First, she is a PhD student and teaches at university. She is also still a teacher in a school. Her research is concerned with her teaching in school and thus theoretically at least there is the potential for harmony between the different roles and systems. However, in reality, Evelyn found it challenging to move between the academic and teaching domains of her ecology. She commented that there are several aspects in which both domains profit from each other. For instance, she mentioned that she was able to apply new concepts and ideas from her PhD experiences to her teaching in the classroom. Similarly, she said that research questions sometimes arose while teaching. However, there were also challenges in balancing these two systems, most notably, once again, the lack of time. In her words: “I need to be more focused otherwise the different jobs are going to tear me apart.”

Time management also appears to underlie the reported shifts in Evelyn’s identities and priorities. While she used to set aside a number of hours for her PhD in the beginning, her increasing teaching responsibilities have resulted in the dissertation project being side-lined. As Evelyn acknowledges, her teaching job generates financial income, which her PhD clearly does not, so for practical reasons, this “paid” role has to take priority.

She also reports how her relationships with significant people in the two domains are shifting in favor of the teaching domain. For example, she no longer socializes with the peer community of fellow PhD candidates. In contrast, Evelyn appears to be more involved with the school’s ecosystem and colleagues. Interestingly, her colleagues in school do not always explicitly support her PhD work. Evelyn distinguishes among her colleagues who appear indifferent, and the majority, who have strong positive or negative opinions.

Some have, or seem to have, heightened respect for you, because […] you seem to have so much knowledge now. And others just think: “Oh, she wants to be something better and she’s looking down on us.”

Her colleagues’ perspective also creates tension between her two systems for Evelyn and makes her wary of talking about her PhD in the workplace setting in school.

Franziska

Franziska is a full-time-teacher in secondary school and her PhD is about Fachdidaktik in mathematics, which is the subject she also teaches at school. Franziska describes her PhD as her “holiday job.” She describes herself as an extremely keen student, who tries to achieve as much as possible, especially in her own education.

At present, the most dominant system in her ecology is her school and her relationships with her teacher-colleagues (and her headmaster). She spends the majority of her time working in her role as a teacher. She says: “First and foremost, my role is being a teacher […] I love being a teacher.” In contrast, in her academic life surrounding her PhD, she is more isolated. She has an amicable relationship to her supervisor, although she feels he is pressurising her to finish her PhD as soon as possible. She has no other regular contact with other PhD students. Once again, having finished most of her courses in the PhD program, she does not identify herself as a student anymore and the clearly dominant identity is that of herself as teacher. This identity is reinforced by considerations such as the fact that the motivation behind her PhD is to improve her teaching, as well as to improve how others teach when she disseminates the findings at a later date. However, and interestingly, she also reports feeling a tension between herself and some of her teacher colleagues, as she believes that some of them think of her as someone who believes she is better than others just because she is doing her PhD.

One characteristic that is unique to her data stems from the specific characteristics of mathematics as a discipline. For her, she is repeatedly battling with the tension and gap between doing a PhD in what is perceived as the “softer” applied area of Fachdidaktik, compared with what is considered within her discipline as the “hard” discipline of the Fachwissenschaft, that is, the general academic content of mathematics. Although Franziska says the two are equally important, she perceives a different status between the two at university and she explains this further with reference to the lower number of professors in Fachdidaktik. She even has the impression that her supervisor is worried about the status of the domain too. She also reports that even in school among the mathematics teachers, there are these same two groups, who do not seem to think very highly of each other. This tension is salient throughout her data, and although it causes her some concern, she has clearly aligned herself with the teaching domain and her identity as a teacher is stronger.

Concerning her personal system, her relationship with her boyfriend, who is doing a PhD too, acts as a motivation for finishing in time as they plan to marry soon after receiving their PhDs. In addition, her mother is another important motivator, who Franziska feels offers her support in respect to her studies.

Gerhild

Gerhild is highly motivated and states that her wish to do a PhD did not only stem from a desire to specialize in a topic in depth but also to learn more about research. Indeed, in contrast to other participants, her identity as a researcher is a recurring theme, which may be due in part to her employment as a teacher at university, where she also uses research approaches for her work. She reports that, for her, being a PhD student enables her to learn more about research and to try out different research methods, which she finds especially useful for supervising undergraduate dissertations. However, despite this synergy between her roles and skill sets, Gerhild also reports feeling frustrated at not being able to agree to take part in other research projects that she might like to accept because of a lack of time, while still working on her PhD:

[…] I cannot tackle a lot of things, simply because with the job and the dissertation and then there are so many other additional things, and I just have to decline. And otherwise I would definitely accept. So, I am really looking forward to a time when I can accept additional things besides my job. An additional research project for example, which I cannot do at the moment.

While her professional role and her role as a PhD student complement each other relatively well, her personal life seems to be a little strained due to her studies. She frequently mentions that she would prefer to have a better balance between work, dissertation, and private life, stating that since starting her PhD, there has not been a single day which had not been subject to a working plan. She describes writing her dissertation as a “hobby,” thus, leaving little time for additional hobbies. Interestingly, Gerhild also mentions that she tries to keep her identity as a student separate from her personal life, to a degree that only a selected number of friends and family even know about her dissertation. For her, this strategy is helpful because, as she states, most people do not know enough about the process of doing a PhD and therefore just increase the pressure by continuously asking when the dissertation will be finished. However, she mentions her husband, who is also writing his dissertation, as valuable support in this respect:

[…] but I am very lucky, in that sense that my partner is so to speak going down the same path or has already done it and that this makes it easier in the sense that he is very understanding in our daily life. And as both of us are workaholics, our weekends are structured in such a way, that we are sitting across from each other in front of the computer instead of being elsewhere.

Helena

Although Helena explicitly claims that a PhD has nothing to do with being a better teacher or giving her advantages at school or for finding a job, she still considers a PhD in “Fachdidaktik” to be for good teachers who want to become better at their jobs. Helena says that she always sees herself as a teacher and, in fact, would not even mention her role as a researcher or PhD student to others. Indeed, as with others, being a teacher and working at school is the most important component of her life. In the following quote, she reveals how doing and finishing the PhD is something she does only for herself, and not for the title or the status she might achieve through it:

Of course, it satisfies me job-wise, just to finish it but also personally. If you invest so much time in something, it satisfies you just to finish it, to manage to do it.

In the quote she nicely describes her choice for the PhD on two levels, namely, on a personal and on a job-related level. A particular tension for Helena is her role within her family. Helena is a mother of two children and she reports that her family has such a large impact on her life that she finds it very hard to pursue the PhD the way she wants to. In her case, the tensions and demands on her time do not stem so clearly from her work as a teacher but are more due to family commitments. In part, Helena gives the impression that she cannot fully take on the PhD student or researcher role simply because her role as a mother and the demands on her time from her job mean that this could only take second if not third place in her priorities. There is no doubt that her PhD degree is important for her but she makes clear that the other domains of her life are more important in terms of identities and in the practical allocation of time.

Discussion

The data clearly reveal how the participants’ academic identities were shaped within their own unique ecologies (Bronfenbrenner, 1989). These are comprised of their own personal, professional, and academic contexts, their social relationships, their attitudes toward each of these domains, their perceived demands on their time, and their own initial and ongoing motivations for doing the PhD.

Social and academic support were two areas that emerged strongly as playing a considerable role in the confidence, comfort and identity of each individual. For, Ana, Carina, Helena, and partly also Gerhild their immediate family and other significant others proved to be both sources of worry and guilt about the time and degree of commitment they were making to them, whereas in contrast for Gerhild and Bernhard, their partners proved to be a valuable and motivating source of support and understanding. For Franziska, both her boyfriend and her mother were important motivators. These personal and academic tensions highlight the need to reflect on the importance of social support for those students balancing home commitments and studies (Jazvac-Martek et al., 2011), which in turn suggests the potential benefits to be gained by fostering stronger communities of PhD students with shared identities.

Generally, it was notable that participants had different predominating identities. Reasons for this diversity appear to stem from perceived pressures, emotions, confidence, degree of reflexivity of the individual, discipline, current employment status, and current family status. The most notable identities that seemed to dominate the data were the PhD students teaching and professional work-related identities as the following quote from the interview with Gerhild underlines:

I just realize that, when there are busy times at work, when I have to teach a lot and there is a lot of preparation to be done, the dissertation has to be put in second place. Simply because my job is my number one priority.

This is understandable given the financial responsibilities associated with their life stage, as well as the fact that for many their motivations for pursuing PhD studies are related to their jobs. It was also encouraging to note that the majority (Carina, Daniela, Evelyn, Franziska, Gerhild, and Helena) felt that their studies were beneficial for their professional roles, even if these benefits were not the initial motivation behind their studies. This is pleasing to observe, given that the synergy between the studies and people’s practical experiences and knowledge are some of the key drives behind the introduction of occupation-based PhDs (Ho et al., 2012, p. 319).

Other tensions stemming from doing an occupation-based PhD include the recurrent theme of time. Rather tellingly, the only participant for whom this was not reported to be an issue was Ana, who was the only full-time participant on a scholarship. Daniela goes so far as to suggest that being full-time on her PhD would be her ideal scenario, whereas Franziska would not reduce her time working in school at all, even if there were the possibility to do that. The reasons for the problems with time management or lack of sufficient time came largely from the demands of being a teacher and full teaching loads (Holian & Coghlan, 2013). Even those who worked in tertiary settings, in which there was some sympathy for research and PhD work, did not feel any alleviation of the pressure of time in balancing all the commitments. For some, such as Helena, there was the added commitment of having a family role to attend to.

As Brosi and Welpe (2014) show, there is a connection between the amount of time a person allocates to an area of work and how strongly they identify with that area. In this study, the overwhelming resonance is that the PhD candidates are spending more time on their jobs and teaching, and thus are having to neglect or abandon completely work on their PhDs for periods of time. To help those balancing these dual identities, universities could also support the candidates in developing their research identities consciously and explicitly to help them find more balance, carve out more time in their busy lives and thus ensure that more of them are able to complete their PhDs without dropping out (Evans, 2002). In pointing out the many challenges arising from a part-time PhD, Watts (2008) also argues that institutions have a role to play in that some are less inclined to offer part-timers the same support they offer full-time students, who are expected to complete their research quicker and thus contribute to the institution’s research profile faster. Watts (2008) also points to the constant psychological adjustments needed by students switching from one environment to the other, as well as the demotivating factor of being disconnected from the research culture and having a sense of isolation due to them spending prolonged periods of time away from their PhD institutions and studies per se.

Concluding Remarks

This study has shown the competing tensions in the different ecologies that occupation-based PhD students, such as these “Fachdidaktik” students, have to balance. Sometimes these multiple roles and systems can function in synergistic ways mutually supporting and enhancing each other, as is often the intention of such degree programs. However, in reality, it was frequently a case of competing demands for time and attention with sometimes a lack of understanding or support from the respective domains. As a result, these teacher PhD candidates found themselves having to choose between domains and roles by placing one with priority over the other. These findings suggest the critical importance for employers and academic institutions offering the chance for occupation-based PhDs to work together more to seek actively to ensure the synergies that are possible but all too often absent from these participant’s lives.

As Wagner (2011) argues, real-world problems from practice can only truly be understood and solutions proposed when both types of knowledge and expertise are brought together, and occupation-based PhDs have a key role to play in this respect. In particular, there seems to be a need to also disseminate more information among staff at the respective institutions. For example, an unexpected and rather disappointing discovery was the perceived negativity about the PhD directed at some of the participants by colleagues in the workplace. Indeed, for Ana, Bernhard, Evelyn, and Gerhild, there was a sense of “embarrassment” about not wanting to tell others about their work for fear of envy and/or general negativity from their work colleagues in schools. Franziska even reported feeling that she was seen critically or negatively by some of her colleagues, because they felt she might believe she is “better” or superior to them because of her PhD studies. It is likely for this reason that some students, like Gerhild and Ana, reported keeping their PhDs private or avoiding talking about them, in what seems to be an attempt to avoid pressure or conflict in the workplace.

We also found that the status of occupation-based PhDs was an issue for some of the participants, in particular those in the mathematics discipline. Naturally, each discipline has its own culture but generally within the academy, we feel that there needs to be a greater appreciation of the expertise such degrees foster as well as a greater esteeming of practice-based knowledge and expertise.

In terms of the approach within the university course that this research study took place, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One criticism from one member of the group concerned the time pressures of completing this research project within the bounds of one semester under time constraints set to ensure the group could work together systematically. It was indeed stressful for both course leader and the students and, in fact, the writing of this paper continued for several months after the completion of the course. However, all of the students reported positively on the experience of living through a small-scale project with accompanying feedback and input as well as the real-world relevance and thus motivation to complete the work. While we all have reservations about the practicalities of conducting a PhD course in this manner, we conclude that we would repeat it again given the benefits we feel it brings in contrast to more frontal taught methodology courses and/or individual small-scale projects that do not foster group collaboration and a shared sense of community, identity, and learning.

To conclude, for both our participants in our study as well as the students conducting the study, we feel a quote from Bernhard captures well the learning that a PhD involves, namely, that it can be extremely rewarding, it can generate growth and learning but it also requires a considerable commitment of time and stamina to see it through to the end alongside all the other roles, identities and systemic commitments that each individual has to balance:

There is a certain flair in being a PhD student, it is a nice thing, you get to know yourself, you improve your skills in different areas, but it also represents a big chunk of time from your life that you spend on it.

Authors’ contribution

Each author contributed to the analysis and writing of this paper. All authors had full access to the references included in this analysis and take responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the study.

Conflicts of interest

None.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Achilleas Kostoulas for feedback on an earlier draft of this paper. No financial support was received for this study.

References

  • Bourke, S., Holbrook, A., Lovat, T., & Farley, P. (2004). Attrition, completion and completion times of PhD candidates. Paper presented at the AARE Annual Conference, Melbourne. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sid_Bourke/publication/228719523_Attrition_Completion_and_Completion_Times_of_PhD_Candidates/links/004635212d98fcc737000000.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of Child Development, 6, 187249.

  • Brosi, P., & Welpe, I. M. (2014). Identitäten und Rollen. Wissenschaftler im Karriereverlauf [Identities and Roles. Careers in Science]. Forschung & Lehre, 7, 546547. Retrieved from http://www.forschung-und-lehre.de/wordpress/Archiv/2014/ful_07-2014.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Costley, C. (2014, June). Professional doctorates in the UK. Retrieved from http://adaptinternational.it

  • Dalton-Puffer, C., Gefaell, C., Hinterlehner, S., Krammer, S., Lembens, A., & Stanik, H. (2011). Distribuierte Expertise im Bereich der Fachdidaktik: Eine Analyse struktureller Rahmenbedingung an der Universität Wien [Distributed expertise in the field of teaching methodology and didactics. An analysis of the framework conditions at the University of Vienna] (Arbeitspapier 4). Wien.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Evans, T. (2002). Part-time research students: Are they producing knowledge where it counts? Higher Education Research & Development, 21(2), 155165. doi:10.1080/07294360220144079

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Feldmann, A., Alibrandi, M., Capifali, E., Floyd, D., Gabriel, J., Henriques, B., Lucev, J., & Mera, M. (1998). Looking at ourselves look at ourselves: An action research self-study of doctoral students’ roles in teacher education programs. Teacher Education Quarterly, 25(3), 528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fernández-Fernández, I., & Fraile, C. L. (2016). Shaping the identity of novice academics: Strategies for support professional development. Zeitschrift für Hochschulentwicklung, 11(5), 4563.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ho, A., Kember, D., & Hong, C. (2012). What motivates an ever increasing number of students to enrol in part-time taught postgraduate awards? Studies in Continuing Education, 34(3), 319338. doi:10.1080/0158037X.2011.646979

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holian, R., & Coghlan, D. (2013). Ethical issues and role duality in insider action research: Challenges for action research degree programmes. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 26, 399415. doi:10.1007/s11213-012-9256-6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hopf, C. (2013). Qualitative interviews – ein Überblick [Qualitative interviews – An overview]. In U. Flick, E. von Kardorff, & I. Steinke (Eds.), Qualitative forschung – ein handbuch [Qualitative research – A manual] (10th ed., pp. 349360). Reinbeck: Rowohlt.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jazvac-Martek, M., Chen, S., & McAlpine, L. (2011). Tracking the doctoral student experience over time: Cultivating agency in diverse spaces. In L. McAlpine & C. Amundsen (Eds.), Doctoral education: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators (pp. 1736). Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kreber, C. (2010). Academics’ teacher identities, authenticity and pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education, 35(2), 171194. doi:10.1080/03075070902953048

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Niebert, K., & Gropengießer, H. (2014) Leitfadengestützte interviews [Semi-structured interviews]. In D. Krüger, I. Parchmann, & H. Schecker (Eds.), Methoden in der Naturwissenschaftsdidaktischen Forschung [Research Methods for Fachdidaktik in the Natural Sciences] (pp. 121132). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sander, W. (in press) Zum notwendigen verhältnis von fachwissenschaft und fachdidaktik im Lehramtsstudium [On the important connection between the scientific discipline and teaching methodology and didactics in teacher education]. Retrieved from http://assets03.hessenspd.net/docs/doc_45509_20137465741.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheridan, V. (2013). A risky mingling: Academic identity in relation to stories of the personal and professional self. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 14(4), 568579. doi:10.1080/14623943.2013.810617

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wagner, B. (2011). Warum sollten Berufstätige an Universitäten lernen? [Why should professionals study at universities?]. In N. Tomaschek & E. Gornik (Eds.), The lifelong learning university (pp. 181186). Münster, Germany: Waxmann.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watts, J. H. (2008). Challenges of supervising part-time PhD students: Towards student-centred practice. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(3), 369373. doi:10.1080/13562510802045402

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Appendix

Interview guideline

General Qs.Establish rapport (Relaxed polite conversation about how their day was and what they were doing)
Did you bring a prompt?
If yes, what would you like to share/say about your prompt?
Can you tell me the story of how you got to this point of doing your PhD?
How would you describe being a PhD student?
Have you ever questioned your decision to do a PhD?
If yes, can you explain what caused it? And how did you deal with it? What made you continue?
Has doing your PhD affected the way you lead your life?/Do you feel that your PhD experience has changed you in any way?
If yes, how?
What are your hopes and goals for the future of your PhD studies? (short-term and long-term)
If you had to describe yourself after completing your PhD, what would you like to be like?
Do you know anybody else who is doing a PhD in Fachdidaktik?
In what ways do you feel you are similar to/different from them?
What advice would you give somebody who is just thinkingabout starting their PhD in Fachdidaktik?
What skills do you need for a Phd? How confident and comfrotable do you feel with these? Are they transferable to other contexts of your lives?
Would you say that people who aren’t doing a PhD perceive your or the other PhD students you know, differently now, since you started your PhD?
If yes, who treats you/them differently? In what ways?
Why do you think that difference in perception occurs?
Additional Qs.Why did you decide to become a teacher?
How important are those reasons for you now?
If you could change anything about your job or your studies, what would it be?
Do you feel your PhD is related to your teaching? If so, in what ways?
Is there a relationship between your role as a teacher, researcher, and PhD student?
If yes – How do you think they are connected?
Thank you so much for your time, that was great! Now, since I’ve been asking you all the questions, would you like to ask something as well? Anything you are interested in or want me to clarify for you? Or is there anything else you would like to tell me about your PhD experience, that hasn’t come up in my questions?
Thank you again for your time and all the great answers!

Overview of coding categories

Code categoryDefinitionCodes
AttitudesFeelings or opinions expressed regarding aspects of the participants’ professional and social life.– Attitudes_towards-own-PhD-study
– Attitudes_towards-teaching
– Attitudes_towards-PhD-students
IdentitySet of beliefs about oneself and the roles one has.– Identity_feel-special
– Identity_teacher
– Identity_more-than-a-teacher
– Identity_conflicting
– Identity_university-lecturer Identity_researcher
– Identity_identification-with-research-topic
Interconnection between rolesAnything that indicates a connection between the roles of teacher, researcher, PhD student and “normal individual.”– Roles_conflicting
– Roles_complementary
– Roles_coexisting
– Roles_teaching-as-applying-research
– Roles_teaching-inspires-research
– Roles_mutal-enrichment
– Roles_positioning-yourself
DynamicsAnything that indicates a change or growth (either in the motivational dynamics for completing the PhD or in the participant’s self-observed personal growth as a teacher or researcher.)– Dynamics_changing-motivation
– Dynamics_growth-as-a-person
– Dynamics_growth-as-PhD-student
– Dynamics_growth-as-researcher
– Dynamics_growth-as-teacher
MotivationA person’s willingness to initiate or continue their PhD studies and descriptions of positive or negative future self’s.– Motivation_starting-a-PhD
– Motivation_uncertainty
– Motivation_extrinsic
– Motivation_intrinsic
– Motivation_fear
– Motivation_hopes
– Motivation_peers
– Motivation_personal-progress
– Motivation_academic-progress
– Motivation_doubts
– Motivation_future-self
– Motivation_enthusiasm
– Motivation_endurance
– Motivation_family
PerceptionAnything that indicates a positive, negative, or neutral attitude of other people toward the fact that the participant is doing a PhD.– Perception-by-others_negative
– Perception-by-others_no-difference
– Perception-by-others_positive
– Perception-by-others_PhD-affects-relationship-with-other-teachers
– Perception-by-others_teacher-hierarchy
Social influenceAnything that indicates a positive or negative influence on the participant’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior by their personal or professional social circle. – Social-influence_academic
– Social-influence_guilt
– Social-influence_personal
– Social-influence_professional
– Social-influence_supervisor
– Social-influence_sense-of-belonging
– Social-influence_academic-community
– Social-influence_peers
Social responsibilitiesAnything that is perceived as an obligation in work and private life. – Responsibility_discipline
– Responsibility_financial-support
– Responsibility_towards-full-time-job
– Responsibility_towards-employer
– Responsibility_towards-family
– Responsibility_relationships
– Responsibility_being-a-mother
Time managementAnything that indicates how the participants make effective use of their time available within their social, work, and research obligations.– Time-management_prioritising
– Time-management_lack-of-time
– Time-management_time-pressure
– Time-management_main-distractors
– Time-management_minor-distractors
– Time-management_invested-time
– Time-management_moving-abroad
– Time-management_need-to-invest-time
– Time-management_PhD-distracts
– Time-management_teaching-distracts
– Time-management_vacation
– Time-management_work-life-balance

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bourke, S., Holbrook, A., Lovat, T., & Farley, P. (2004). Attrition, completion and completion times of PhD candidates. Paper presented at the AARE Annual Conference, Melbourne. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sid_Bourke/publication/228719523_Attrition_Completion_and_Completion_Times_of_PhD_Candidates/links/004635212d98fcc737000000.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of Child Development, 6, 187249.

  • Brosi, P., & Welpe, I. M. (2014). Identitäten und Rollen. Wissenschaftler im Karriereverlauf [Identities and Roles. Careers in Science]. Forschung & Lehre, 7, 546547. Retrieved from http://www.forschung-und-lehre.de/wordpress/Archiv/2014/ful_07-2014.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Costley, C. (2014, June). Professional doctorates in the UK. Retrieved from http://adaptinternational.it

  • Dalton-Puffer, C., Gefaell, C., Hinterlehner, S., Krammer, S., Lembens, A., & Stanik, H. (2011). Distribuierte Expertise im Bereich der Fachdidaktik: Eine Analyse struktureller Rahmenbedingung an der Universität Wien [Distributed expertise in the field of teaching methodology and didactics. An analysis of the framework conditions at the University of Vienna] (Arbeitspapier 4). Wien.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Evans, T. (2002). Part-time research students: Are they producing knowledge where it counts? Higher Education Research & Development, 21(2), 155165. doi:10.1080/07294360220144079

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Feldmann, A., Alibrandi, M., Capifali, E., Floyd, D., Gabriel, J., Henriques, B., Lucev, J., & Mera, M. (1998). Looking at ourselves look at ourselves: An action research self-study of doctoral students’ roles in teacher education programs. Teacher Education Quarterly, 25(3), 528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fernández-Fernández, I., & Fraile, C. L. (2016). Shaping the identity of novice academics: Strategies for support professional development. Zeitschrift für Hochschulentwicklung, 11(5), 4563.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ho, A., Kember, D., & Hong, C. (2012). What motivates an ever increasing number of students to enrol in part-time taught postgraduate awards? Studies in Continuing Education, 34(3), 319338. doi:10.1080/0158037X.2011.646979

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holian, R., & Coghlan, D. (2013). Ethical issues and role duality in insider action research: Challenges for action research degree programmes. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 26, 399415. doi:10.1007/s11213-012-9256-6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hopf, C. (2013). Qualitative interviews – ein Überblick [Qualitative interviews – An overview]. In U. Flick, E. von Kardorff, & I. Steinke (Eds.), Qualitative forschung – ein handbuch [Qualitative research – A manual] (10th ed., pp. 349360). Reinbeck: Rowohlt.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jazvac-Martek, M., Chen, S., & McAlpine, L. (2011). Tracking the doctoral student experience over time: Cultivating agency in diverse spaces. In L. McAlpine & C. Amundsen (Eds.), Doctoral education: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators (pp. 1736). Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kreber, C. (2010). Academics’ teacher identities, authenticity and pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education, 35(2), 171194. doi:10.1080/03075070902953048

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Niebert, K., & Gropengießer, H. (2014) Leitfadengestützte interviews [Semi-structured interviews]. In D. Krüger, I. Parchmann, & H. Schecker (Eds.), Methoden in der Naturwissenschaftsdidaktischen Forschung [Research Methods for Fachdidaktik in the Natural Sciences] (pp. 121132). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sander, W. (in press) Zum notwendigen verhältnis von fachwissenschaft und fachdidaktik im Lehramtsstudium [On the important connection between the scientific discipline and teaching methodology and didactics in teacher education]. Retrieved from http://assets03.hessenspd.net/docs/doc_45509_20137465741.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheridan, V. (2013). A risky mingling: Academic identity in relation to stories of the personal and professional self. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 14(4), 568579. doi:10.1080/14623943.2013.810617

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wagner, B. (2011). Warum sollten Berufstätige an Universitäten lernen? [Why should professionals study at universities?]. In N. Tomaschek & E. Gornik (Eds.), The lifelong learning university (pp. 181186). Münster, Germany: Waxmann.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watts, J. H. (2008). Challenges of supervising part-time PhD students: Towards student-centred practice. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(3), 369373. doi:10.1080/13562510802045402

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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Publication Programme: 2020. Vol. 4.

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  • Basseches, Michael (Suffolk University, USA)
  • Billett, Stephen (Griffith University, Australia)
  • Cakmakci, Gültekin (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
  • Damsa, Crina (University of Oslo,Norway)
  • Dörnyei, Zoltán (Nottingham University, UK)
  • Endedijk, Maaike (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Fejes, Andreas (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Guimaraes, Paula (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Halász, Gábor (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Hansman, Catherine A. (Cleveland State University, USA)
  • Kroeber, Edith (Stuttgart University, Germany)
  • Kumar, Swapna (University of Florida, USA)
  • MacDonald, Ronald (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
  • Marsick, Victoria J. (Columbia University, USA)
  • Martensson, Katarina (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Matei, Liviu (Central European University, Hungary)
  • Matyja, Malgorzata (Wroclaw University of Economics, Poland)
  • Mercer, Sarah (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Nichols, Gill (University of Surrey, UK)
  • Nokkala, Terhi (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland)
  • Ostrouch-Kaminska (Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski, Poland)
  • Pusztai, Gabriella (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Ramesal, Ana (Barcelona University, Spain)
  • Reischmann, Jost (Bamberg University, Germany)
  • Rösken-Winter, Bettina (Humboldt, Germany)
  • Ryan, Stephen (Waseda University, Japan)
  • Török, Erika (Pallasz Athéné University, Hungary)
  • Wach-Kakolewicz, Anna (Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland)
  • Watkins, Karen E. (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

 

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Editorial Office
Eötvös Loránd University
Faculty of Education and Psychology
Institute of Research on Adult Education and Knowledge Management
Address: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 23-27. HUNGARY

E-mail: jalki@ppk.elte.hu