Gu, Xinna (2016) Academic Career Choice: What Academics Value Most? A Phenomenological Study at the School of Education in a Post-1992 UK University. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study explores essential values that academics hold pertaining to the academic career choice. There is limited research into the values for the academic career choice in higher education. A number of research have revealed the values for the teaching career choice by investigating what motivated pre-service or in-service teachers to teach mainly at primary and secondary levels. However, what values motivate academics to enter and to sustain in academia, what are important for them regarding their academic career and what may cause them to leave the career are largely unknown. The current study, therefore, seeks to explore the essential values for the academic career choice within a group of eight academics at the school of education in a post-1992 UK University. The study adopts the qualitative, interpretive and phenomenological methodologies in order to understand the subjective views and the distinctive experience of the academics. Data from the semi-structured interviews are analysed using qualitative content analysis. Findings show that the essential values of the academics are ‘doing something worthwhile’ and ‘supporting students/helping students learn’. The academics perceive helping students/people develop, seeing them flourish and being part of the process are worthwhile, rewarding and most fulfilling.

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