Research into doctoral education: A survey of institutional research projects in Southern Africa

Bitzer, Eli (2016)

CITATION: Bitzer, E. 2016. Research into Doctoral Education: A Survey of Institutional Research Projects in Southern Africa, in J. Botha & N.J. Muller (eds.). Institutional Research in South Africa Higher Education: Intersecting Contexts and Practices. Stellenbosch: SUN PRESS. 277-297. doi:10.18820/9781928357186/14.

The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.

Chapters in Books

Introduction: The title of this book indicates an exploration of intersecting contexts and practices of institutional research (IR) in South African higher education. Amongst the many definitions of the concept of IR worldwide (Chirikov 2013; Shreeve 2010), the term is often described as exploring, understanding and explaining the institution for the institution, but also as having a broader function (Webber & Calderon 2015:10-11). As this volume highlights different dimensions of IR related to higher education issues, contexts and practices in South Africa, this chapter focuses on IR and doctoral education. I address here three objectives. Firstly, the question of what constitutes a doctoral degree or ‘doctorateness’ in order to provide some background to doctoral education as an object of investigation. Since the interrelated sets of factors that influence doctoral education are also important, I emphasise the contextual, administrative and academic factors related to doctoral education. Secondly, I probe international research related to doctoral education in order to provide a backdrop to the role of IR in Southern Africa; and thirdly, I report on the results of a limited survey on doctoral education in Southern African and suggest possible future roles for IR and agendas for doctoral education.

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