A ‘doctoral compass’: strategic reflection, self-assessment and recalibration for navigating the ’twin’ doctoral journey

Elliot, D. L. (2022) A ‘doctoral compass’: strategic reflection, self-assessment and recalibration for navigating the ’twin’ doctoral journey. Studies in Higher Education, 47(8), pp. 1652-1665. (doi: 10.1080/03075079.2021.1946033)

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This conceptual paper contributes to a broader perspective on doctoral experience via a synthesis of several crucial concepts during the doctoral journey. The first part discusses the core challenges customarily confronting doctoral scholars due to the distinct PhD genre leading to introducing the main conceptual base. Metacognition, being central to doctoral knowledge creation, is explored through the stages of competence development and against the competing notions often faced by PhD scholars: the Imposter Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Drawing upon these metacognitive concepts, the implications of crossing competence stages during lengthy, non-linear doctoral trajectories in a high-performance academic culture are further explored. While recognising associated challenges, this paper also highlights a range of available tools, resources, and skillsets useful for the transitional period, doctoral learning progression and eventual completion. This paper has, therefore, interwoven and unified key doctoral experience concepts with a view to proposing a conceptual framework for a doctoral self-management strategy. This holistic framework, a form of metacognitive scaffolding for navigating the PhD experience, is likened to a ‘compass’ for trekking both the research landscape and the doctoral development landscape. In the absence of a doctoral ‘map’, employing one’s personal metacognitive ‘compass’ can empower doctoral scholars to manage a potentially complex experience – by identifying essential praxes to scaffold the entire doctoral process through iterative cycles of reflection, calibration and recalibration of strategic reflection and personal evaluation of one’s progression.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Elliot, Dr Dely
Authors: Elliot, D. L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:Studies in Higher Education
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-174X
Published Online:28 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Studies in Higher Education 47(8): 1652-1665
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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