Dr Shane Dowle

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I recently completed a PhD research project under the supervision of Proferssors Rosemary Deem and Pam Denicolo.

My thesis is entitled "Retheorising doctoral completions: Exploring the role of critical events, structure and agency". The thesis takes a fresh look at how progress to timely and successful completion is both enabled and constrained. A novel conceptual model has been used to the frame the study by combining concepts from critical event theory, threshold concept theory and sociological theories of structure and agency. New data were generated via a case study of a research-intensive university. Data collection involved the use of a creative method from constructivist research - rivers of experience - and interviews. Interpretations of the data were then also shared and validated through two national workshops involving participants from a range of UK universities. 

The thesis makes several contributions. First, the factors influencing timely submission are re-theorised using a new model, which considers both the situationally contingent and dynamic ways in which progress occurs. Second, the tasks and content involved in the doctorate are illuminated through a taxonomy of critical events and their features. Third, some significant effects of time pressure on the doctorate are revealred. Fourth, a theoretically and empirically informed conceptualisation of how doctoral researchers and supervisors exercise agency is provided. Fifth, the research identifies how major structural factors in the doctoral experience enable or constrain progress. 

If you would like to get in touch with me about the project, please use my work email address: s.dowle@surrey.ac.uk or follow me on Twitter @shane_dowle 



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