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Durham University

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Publication details

Wang, L. & Byram, M. (2019). International Doctoral Students’ Experience of Supervision: A case study in a Chinese University. Cambridge Journal of Education 49(3): 255-274.

Author(s) from Durham


Internationalisation in higher education is now a worldwide phenomenon but there is little attention paid to internationalisation at doctoral level, although this phenomenon has grown exponentially in recent years. This study focuses on a university in China to examine how international doctoral students and their supervisors perceive supervision and the relations between supervisor and student. It describes and analyses the experiences of supervisors and students, and the concepts they used to articulate and reflect on them. Semi-formal interviews were conducted with six doctoral students and their supervisors. Analysis shows that, apart from formal supervision, informal enculturation through social and academic networks, the tongmen, plays an important role in supervision and in socialising the doctoral researchers into the community of practice. The study adds to the field a new case from a specific epistemological and intellectual tradition and challenges existing theories concerning methods and concepts of supervision.