McCluskey, Serena and Ross, Denise (2013) The ‘cognitive apprenticeship’ model and postgraduate research supervision: mind the gap. In: HEA Social Sciences Conference: Teaching research methods, 23-24 May 2013, Liverpool, UK. (Unpublished)

The ‘cognitive apprenticeship’ is an application of social learning theory, whereby the student models the ‘master’ in order to learn a required set of skills, and is often the dominant approach in postgraduate research supervision practice. The theory proposes that learning which takes place in a ‘real world’ context is the most effective, but it does not offer any guidance on negotiating the tensions which may arise as a result of the contextual differences between the professional and academic backgrounds of supervisor and student.
Reflecting on the research supervision of a Professional Doctorate student who then transferred to PhD study, this presentation will illustrate the tensions and challenges relating to teaching, learning and applying academic research skills in clinical practice. During the supervision journey, an in-depth understanding of the different cultures and values within these two disciplines has developed and been successfully negotiated in order to manage both the demands of doctoral research and the post-doctoral career aspirations of the student. The results of this observation have implications for the application of pedagogical theory in teaching research methods.


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