Towards explaining doctoral success at Stellenbosch University

Vandenbergh, Stefanie Josepha Emilie (2013-12)

Thesis (MPhil)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Limited research in South Africa has been conducted on factors contributing to doctoral success, particularly on how doctoral candidates and graduates experience their studies and the transformation of candidates that can be associated with doctoral studies. This lack of information pertains to the successful completion of a doctoral study within a minimum period of time. It is difficult to predict who will eventually successfully complete their doctoral studies if the prediction is merely based on the results of previous qualifications. Such previous achievements are often insufficient and inadequate to ensure the successful completion of a doctoral study. Knowledge institutions such as universities seem not to pay adequate attention to the transformation of the person of the doctoral candidate and his or her becoming an independent researcher. Often, a narrow concept of the intellect of doctoral candidates is over-emphasised. Knowing, although limited, is transformative as it can often change who candidates are (or become) as graduates. Such transformation and the idea of a doctoral identity has rarely been the focus in doctoral education, as epistemological gain is regarded as being more important. The aim of this study was to establish a basic understanding of doctoral success at Stellenbosch University, mainly directed at exploring the challenges faced by doctoral candidates and thereby possibly contributing to the future support of doctoral candidates at the institution. By using an interpretive reseach paradigm and narrative analysis, a number of characteristics were identified as being useful by contributing to a clearer theoretical and conceptual understanding of doctoral success at Stellenbosch University. In the study a number of factors that facilitated doctoral success were also identified, and factors contributing to such success as indicated by participants themselves were defined. A conceptual framework of understanding that may underscore and justify strategies and actions promoting doctoral success are suggested in the study.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar bestaan tans beperkte navorsing in Suid-Afrika oor faktore wat tot die sukses van doktorale studies bydra, veral ten opsigte van hoe doktorale kandidate en gegradueerdes hulle studies ervaar en die transformasie van kandidate wat deur doktorale studies meegebring word. Hierdie gebrek aan inligting het ʼn impak op die suksesvolle voltooiing al dan nie van ʼn doktorale studie binne ʼn minimum tydperk. Dit is moeilik om te voorspel wie uiteindelik hulle doktorale studies suksesvol sal voltooi as die voorspelling bloot op die resultate van vorige kwalifikasies gegrond is. Sodanige vorige prestasies is dikwels onvoldoende en ontoereikend om te verseker dat ʼn doktorale studie suksesvol voltooi sal word. Kennisinstellings soos universiteite gee skynbaar nie voldoende aandag aan die transformasie van die doktorale kandidaat as persoon of aan die proses waardeur hy of sy gaan om ʼn onafhanklike navorser te word nie. Dikwels word ʼn eng konsep van die intelligensie van doktorale kandidate oorbeklemtoon. Kennis, selfs al is dit beperk, is transformerend van aard omdat dit dikwels kan verander wie die kandidate as gegradueerdes is (of word). Sodanige transformasie en die konsep van ʼn doktorale identiteit was nog selde die fokuspunt in doktorale studie omdat epistemologiese voordele as belangriker beskou word. Die doel van hierdie studie, wat hoofsaaklik gerig was op ʼn ondersoek van die uitdagings wat doktorale kandidate moet aanspreek, was om ʼn basiese begrip van doktorale sukses aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch te vestig. Dit was dus ʼn poging om by te dra tot die toekomstige ondersteuning van doktorale kandidate aan hierdie instelling. Deur ʼn interpretatiewe navorsingsparadigma en narratiewe ontleding te gebruik, is ʼn aantal waardevolle eienskappe geïdentifiseer wat tot ʼn duideliker teoretiese en konsepsuele begrip van doktorale sukses aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch kan bydra. In die studie is ʼn aantal faktore geïdentifiseer wat doktorale sukses vergemaklik, terwyl ʼn oorsig ook gegee word van faktore wat volgens die deelnemers aan die studie tot sukses sal bydra. Hierdie studie stel ʼn konsepsuele begripsraamwerk voor wat strategieë en optrede wat doktorale sukses sal verhoog, ondersteun en regverdig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85561
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