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Transition to postgraduate study: postgraduate ecological systems and identity

Tobbell, Jane and O’Donnell, Victoria L. (2013) Transition to postgraduate study: postgraduate ecological systems and identity. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43 (1). pp. 123-138. ISSN 0305-764X

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This paper explores and examines the distal and proximal systems which
construct social science postgraduate study in the UK and analyses the emergent
identities of postgraduate students as they negotiate the multiple and interacting
practices in their transition to study. The data represent part of a one-year
research project, funded by the Higher Education Academy, in which staff and
students from five UK universities participated. The paper takes a socio-cultural
perspective and situates staff and students in the wider macro context of policy
and practice surrounding postgraduate study as well as exploring the micro processes
which construct the proximal experience of the transition. We argue that
the silence surrounding postgraduate transition in the literature must be
addressed in light of existing literature and the present research, both of which
suggest that the systems which construct postgraduate study are complex and
challenging to students, who do not always receive the support they require. We
discuss the practices which implicitly assume expertise in postgraduate students
in contrast to student self-identification as confused and struggling. Commonalities
with other educational transitions are identified but we argue that there are
distinct aspects to postgraduate transition which require greater breadth of
research with both successful and unsuccessful postgraduate students.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Policy Research Group
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2013 10:26
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:26


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