Developing a framework for work integrated research higher degree studies in an Australian engineering context

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Stewart, RA
Chen, L
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2009
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Attributed to the changing social, political and economic landscape of the 'knowledge economy', Australian universities are under pressure to produce researchers that have a variety of skills that meet the demands of an increasingly diverse job market. As a consequence, the umbrella of Australian Research Higher Degree (RHD) offerings has broadened from the traditional MPhil/PhD programmes to include a range of professional masters and doctoral degrees. This paper reports on the experiences of three PhD students, engaged in an informally managed industry partnered research programme, described in this paper as the Work Integrated Research Higher Degree (WIRHD). Their learning process shares the attributes from both the traditional PhD programme and professional doctorates. However, because of the blended nature of the learning contexts, candidates engaged in the WIRHD programme must address a wider range of issues than those following the traditional RHD pathway. An exploratory case study approach exploring experiences, benefits, barriers and coping strategies was conducted with the view to develop an integrative framework that attempts to explain the various contexts that influence the learning experience of WIRHD candidates. The exploratory study led to the development a structured approach to guide the WIRHD process, which aims to mitigate the various challenges of this style of partnered research arrangement whilst leveraging its benefits.

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European Journal of Engineering Education

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34

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2

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© 2009 Taylor & Francis. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version

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Engineering

Education

Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy

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