© 2007

Disciplines and Doctorates

  • Reports the findings from a large-scale empirical investigation centred around the nature of knowledge-making and knowledge in a wide range of academic disciplines

  • Gives voice to the experiences of more than one hundred supervisors and as many doctoral candidates who detail what they are learning, how they are learning it, and what kinds of intellectual and social issues they face in their individual research settings

  • Provides an analysis of 26 doctoral theses representing a wide range of fields of knowledge and academic disciplines, accounting for conventions for citation and acknowledgement, reporting structures, linguistic conventions governing the nature of argument and more

  • Offers a well-informed explanation of cognitive and social barriers to success among doctoral candidates and shows why these differ markedly across academic disciplines

  • Accounts for the changing nature of doctoral degrees and their markets in the global marketplace, and the implications for doctoral candidates, supervisors and institutions


Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 16)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIII
  2. Knowledge-Making in Doctoral Programs

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Sharon Parry
      Pages 3-14
    3. Sharon Parry
      Pages 15-23
    4. Sharon Parry
      Pages 25-36
  3. Learning in Knowledge-Making Cultures

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 37-37
    2. Sharon Parry
      Pages 39-52
    3. Sharon Parry
      Pages 53-72
    4. Sharon Parry
      Pages 73-94
    5. Sharon Parry
      Pages 95-116
  4. Foundations and New Horizons

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
    2. Sharon Parry
      Pages 119-136
    3. Sharon Parry
      Pages 137-152
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 153-162

About this book


Advice about how to achieve a PhD usually falls short of relevance because the ways of creating and reporting knowledge differ dramatically from one disciplinary field and specialisation to another. Yet supervisors and doctoral candidates alike know that there are certain protocols or parameters, often inexplicit in nature, that govern its achievement and that need to be mastered. This book sets out to explore the nature of these protocols and parameters, linking them to the cognate characteristics of fields of knowledge and to social conventions constraining how new knowledge is reported.

‘Disciplines and Doctorates’ provides a detailed analysis of the experience of learning to make new knowledge at the level of the research doctorate. It does so from the perspectives of both supervisors and candidates across a range of disciplines in different university settings. It draws principally upon a very large-scale, empirical investigation at a number of Australian universities. It also provides a comparative account of doctoral study in different national systems.


Master Professor education learning postgraduate education, academic disciplines, cognition, tac teaching university

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Cross UniversityAustralia

Bibliographic information

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"This book can be counted as making a significant contribution to the scholarly literature on postgraduate education. It is however more than that: individual doctoral students and supervisors as well as University Graduate Schools will be able to benefit from the book’s practical advice, and it also promises to be a valuable addition to courses on Teaching and Learning.
A striking feature of the book is the use of quotations from numerous interviews. The author uses these skilfully to illustrate her analysis, bringing added life to an already well written and readable text."
Professor Tony Becher