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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Research Seminar: The doctorate as experience in Europe and beyond

28th October 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Zoom seminar, Professors Prue Holmes and Mike Byram, School of Education

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.

This presentation draws on a book with the same title* which reports the results of an international comparative study of how doctoral researchers and their supervisors experience and perceive the process of ‘doing’ a PhD. The study was motivated by the need - initially within the perspective of the European Higher Education Area - to analyse the similarities and differences in working for and supervising the highest academic degree universities award. The study took place within a Jean Monnet Network financed by the European Union, led by Maria Stoicheva, Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria, and built on a pilot project financed in part by the School of Education, University of Durham.

The study involved five universities in Europe and a sixth in China, which was introduced to enrich a Euro-centred analysis. Case studies were written for each university focusing on the formal and institutional context - regulations and procedures - and then on the interviews with supervisors and doctoral researchers. This was complemented by transversal, comparative analyses drawing on the case studies and dealing with: ‘the role of supervision’, ‘the role of language and languages in doctoral education’, and ‘doctoral studies, research excellence and European identity’.

We will deal with two of the transversal themes: supervision and language(s) and link the latter to other work done in the School of Education on ‘researching multilingually’ and its significance for doctoral research, before concluding with a brief outline of plans for the next stage of the research.

*Byram, M and Stoicheva, M (eds) (2019) The Doctorate as Experience in Europe and Beyond. London: Routledge.

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