CGHE Webinar

‘Standing on the shoulders of students’? How international doctoral knowledge contributes to the Social Sciences

Date: Tuesday, 28 May 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Speaker(s):
  • Catherine Montgomery, Durham University, UK

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

This paper explores the ways in which doctoral research functions as a critical site for the creation of new knowledge (Manathunga et al., 2022) as well as contributing to research capacity (Larivière, 2012; Oancea, 2023). The research focuses on the EThOS repository which contains 637,000 digital doctoral theses held by the British Library, representing an aggregated total of almost 2 million years of research across a full spectrum of disciplines. The research team have developed an Artificial Intelligence tool prototype which improves the capacity to mine, analyse and summarise the theses in the digital collection (Montgomery et al, 2024).

This paper includes an initial descriptive analysis of the EThOS collection which contains theses dating back to 1650 and reflects a history of doctoral knowledge in academic disciplines across almost four centuries. The collection charts a history of doctoral research and knowledge, the emergence of new research themes, as well as the role of the doctoral contributions to disciplines, timescales and geographies. This presentation will explore emerging patterns of doctoral knowledge production in the Social Sciences, linking the demographic characteristics of PhD students with the evolution of higher education in states such as India (Simpson, 1983; 2009), and as part of the colonial encounter (Connell, 2007; Montgomery, 2019; 2020). The presentation will draw on both an analysis of the Social Science data in records of the digital repository EThOS and on literature in the field which explores the PhD in relation to the development of the research university (Clark, 2006) and the historical and contemporary idea of the PhD (Mills, Forthcoming; Bogle, no date). The findings trace the development of global research capacity and offer insight into the construction of academic disciplines, whilst also highlighting global inequalities in patterns of resource and development.

 

References

Bogle, D. (no date) 100 Years of the PhD in the UK. UCL. Available at: Bogle History of PhD.pdf (ucl.ac.uk).

Clark W. (2006) Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University. University of Chicago Press, May 2006

Connell, R. (2007). Southern theory: The global dynamics of knowledge in social science. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Larivière, V. (2012) On the shoulders of students? The contribution of PhD students to the advancement of knowledge. Scientometrics 90, 463–481 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-011-0495-6

Mills, D. (Forthcoming). The last lost cause? Oxford, empire and the DPhil degree.

Montgomery, C. (2019). Surfacing ‘Southern’ perspectives on student engagement with internationalisation: doctoral theses as alternative forms of knowledge. Journal of Studies in International Education. 23(1) 123 –138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315318803743

Montgomery C. (2020). Exploring rurality and ethnicity in globalised higher education: ideologies, intersections and narratives in doctoral research theses. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. 50, 7, 978-994. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2020.1756744

Montgomery, C., Stewart, C., Aduragba, C. and Poli, F. (2024). Unveiling Crisis in Globalised Higher Education: Artificial Intelligence Insights from the Doctoral Research of EThOS. Higher Education Quarterly. DOI: 10.1111/hequ.12537

Manathunga, C., Singh, M., Qi, J. & Bunda, T. (2023) Using Chinese and First Nations philosophies about time and history to reimagine transcultural doctoral education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 44:1, 121-132, DOI:10.1080/01596306.2021.1972531

Oancea, A. (2023). Beyond the frame: hard-to-assess research–impact nexuses in the social sciences and the humanities. In M. Ochsner & Z. Bulaitis (Eds.), Accountability in Academic Life: European Perspectives on Societal Impact Evaluation (pp. 51-59). Edward Elgar https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800885738.00011

Simpson, R. (1983) How the PhD came to Britain: A century of struggle for postgraduate education. Society for Research into Higher Education, Guildford.

Simpson R. (2009) The Development of the PhD degree in Britain, 1917-1959 and since. An evolutionary and Statistical History in Higher Education. Edward Mellon Press, New York.

 

 

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