22 SES 06 C, (Mis)perceptions and Reflections on Teaching and Learning
Doctoral education process is considered to be one of the most important steps in development of researchers and plays a significant role in supporting research productivity of future researchers (Brewer, Douglas, Facer and O’Toole, 1999; Karaman and Bakırcı, 2010; Keskinkılıç and Ertürk, 2009; Millar, 2013). Nerad, Trzyna and Heggelund (2008) indicate that doctoral education is in the center of universities’ research capacity and has an important place in global economy in the aspect of development of research productivity and innovation; therefore, doctoral students are seen as one of the sources for innovation, research, and development, and doctoral education plays a critical role in the generation of knowledge. And as a result, the countries around the world have been increasing their capacities on doctoral education and evaluating their current doctoral programs with a critical point of view.
Research productivity of doctoral students is related to various variables. These variables can be grouped as personal characteristics factors such as doctoral students’ knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and experiences (Marie,2008; McAlpine and Amundsen, 2011; Zainab, 1999), institutional and departmental factors such as communication with professors/supervisors, faculty size, technology and equipment adequacy (Lee and Bozeman, 2005; Sinclair, Barnacle and Cuthbert, 2014; Ynalvez,Garza-Gongora, Ynalvez and Hara, 2014), and environmental factors such as general funding, incentive, working environment, and discipline (Abramo, D’Angelo and DiCosta, 2009; Bland, Center, Finstad, Risbey and Staples, 2005; Gaughan and Ponomariov, 2008).
It is important to examine the research productivity needs of the doctoral students in order to increase the research productivity of the students in the doctoral education process. For this reason, the aim of the study is to conduct a need assessment study to determine the primary research productivity needs of the doctoral students studying at various Social and Natural Sciences Departments at a university in Turkey.
A mixed method approach is used in the current study as qualitative and quantitative data collection methods are used together. More specifically, fully mixed con-current dominant status design, which is one of the mixed method designs, is conducted as a research design. In this design, qualitative and quantitative phases are mixed concurrently at one or more stages or across the stages of the study (Leech and Onwuegbuzie, 2009). The participants of the study included doctoral students (n=35), professors (n=35), and institute directors (n=4)at a university in Turkey. The doctoral students, professors and institute directors were from the different Social and Natural Sciences Departments so that the needs of doctoral students from different disciplines could be examined. The needs analysis questionnaire and semi-structured interview forms were used as data collection instruments. Both the questionnaires and the interview forms were administered to doctoral students, professors and institute directors, by making minor changes on the instructions and the questions on the forms. The needs analysis questionnaires required participants to rank (higher level need to lower level need) the different skills that doctoral students may need in order to improve their research productivity. The questionnaires included 9 items (i.e., doctoral students need to develop academic writing skills, (2) doctoral students need to be knowledgeable about financial resources (grants and scholarships etc.), (3) doctoral students need to be knowledgeable about publication process etc.). In addition to nine items, ‘other’ option is added to the questionnaires to see if there was another need that participants would like to mention. ‘Needs analysis questionnaires’ were administered to 35 doctoral students, 35 professors and 4 institute directors. The semi-structured interview forms were used to gather in-depth information about research productivity needs of the doctoral students. The interview forms included questions such as ‘What are your general thoughts about doctoral education?’, ‘Are there any people or situations that encourage doctoral students’ research productivity? Do you explain how these people or situations play a role in your research productivity?’ ‘Are there any activities conducted by institution to support doctoral students’ research productivity?’ From all the participants, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 7 doctoral students, 4 professors and 4 institute directors who were volunteer to participate to the interviews. The quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS 22 software and descriptive statistics techniques. The qualitative data were analyzed using MaxQDA qualitative data analysis software by using descriptive qualitative data analysis technique.
Findings of the study showed that academic writing skills was the most frequently mentioned skill that the doctoral students need to improve for their research productivity. Secondly, development of skills including critical thinking, reflective thinking, creative thinking and problem solving skills is determined as needs for doctoral students. Study strategies including time and stress management were reported in the third place. Then being knowledgeable about publishing process (publication, editorial, peer review process etc.), about financial resources (grants and scholarships etc.), cooperation strategies, communication skills, having knowledge and skills about the usage of library, information technology and cultural/artistic features, gaining effective presentation skills and development of foreign language skills were indicated as the needs of doctoral students for increasing their research productivity. Interview results also showed that willingness and effort of the students, taking part in research projects, relations with professors/supervisor, and professor/supervisors’ support, guidance and feedback are important to increase research productivity. Moreover, the participants pointed out that development of university infrastructure including classroom and laboratory environments, organization of conferences, seminars and courses about research and research productivity, increasing the number of courses about research process, increasing the amount of financial support for research could also contribute to doctoral students’ research productivity. The findings of this study can be used by universities and institutions to improve their doctoral education programs and to support the research productivity of doctoral students. . The findings of the study suggest that doctoral students should be offered opportunities for meeting their personal (i.e., skills and abilities) and institutional/environmental (i.e, funding and cooperation) needs to increase their research productivity.
Abramo, G.,D’Angelo, C. A. & DiCosta, F. (2009). Research collaboration and productivity: is there correlation? High Education, 57, 155-171. Bland, C. J., Center, B. A., Finstad, D. A., Risbey, K. R. & Staples, J. G. (2005). A theoretical, practical, predictive model of faculty and department research productivity. Academic Medicine, 80(3), 225-237. Brewer, G. A., Douglas, J. W., Facer, R. L., & O'Toole Jr, L. J. (1999). Determinants of graduate research productivity in doctoral programs of public administration. Public Administration Review, 373-382. Gaughan, M. & Ponomariov, B. (2008). Faculty publication productivity, collaboration, and grants velocity: using curricula vitae to compare center-affiliated and unaffiliated scientists. Research Evaluation, 17(2), 103-110. Karaman, S. &Bakırcı, F. (2010). Postgraduate study in Turkey: Problems and proposed solutions. Sosyal Bilimler Araştırmaları Dergisi. 2, 94-114. Keskinkılıç, S. B. & Ertürk, A. (2009). Statistical competency of the postgraduate students. Ahi Evran University Journal of Kırşehir Education Faculty, 10(1). 141-151. Lee, S., & Bozeman, B. (2005). The impact of research collaboration on scientific productivity. Social studies of science, 35(5), 673-702. Leech, N. L. &Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2009).A typology of mixed methodsresearch designs. Quality and Quantity, 88, 61-70. Marie, J. (2008). Postgraduate science research skills: the role of creativity, tacit knowledge, thought styles and language. London Review of Education, 6(2), 149-158. McAlpine, L. & Amundsen, C. (2011). Doctoral education: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators. Canada: Springer. Millar, M. M. (2013). Interdisciplinary research and the early career: The effect of interdisciplinary dissertation research on career placement and publication productivity of doctoral graduates in the sciences. Research Policy, 42(5), 1152-1164. Nerad, M., Trzyna, T., & Heggelund, M. (2008). Intoduction. In M Nerad ve M. Heggelund (Eds.), Toward a global PhD? Forces and forms in doctoral education worlwide (pp. 4-16) USA: University of Washington Press. Sinclair, J.,Barnacle, R. & Cuthbert, D. (2014). How the doctorate contributes to the formation of active researchers: What the research tells us. Studies in HigherEducation, 39(10), 1972-1986. Ynalvez, R.,Garza‐Gongora, C., Ynalvez, M. A. ve Hara, N. (2014). Research experiences and mentoring practices in selected eastasian graduate programs: Predictors of research productivity among doctoral students in molecular biology. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 42(4), 305-322. Zainab, A. N. (1999). Personal, academic and departmental correlates of research productivity: A review of literature. Malasian Journal of Library & Information Science, 4(2), 73-110.
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