Allyson Holbrook

Allyson Holbrook
The University of Newcastle, Australia · School of Education

About

81
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (81)
Preprint
Full-text available
This article reports the dispositional profile of 880 Masters students in Australia, based on their responses to an online survey. Learners' dispositional attributes form the foundations for learning behaviour and therefore academic outcomes. The profile of the cohort overall was as expected for an elite academic group, yet there was substantial va...
Article
Oral defence is recognised as an important part of doctoral examination and candidate development. Unlike the UK and New Zealand, the Australian examination process does not normally include an end-of-process viva. This paper appraises the views of 20 supervisors and 13 Deans or Directors of Graduate Research from 11 Australian universities as they...
Article
There is a significant concern in Australia that insufficient numbers of students are enrolling in, and graduating from, engineering degree programmes. Research studies and government reports continue to reveal that young people’s negative views of engineering are a major factor contributing to this phenomenon. To unearth how these views are formed...
Article
There has been substantial research on doctoral supervision and examination, yet rarely a focus on what happens at the end-stage of the process when examiner feedback is received and addressed. This article reports survey findings (n = 262) from a study investigating supervisor perceptions about Australian end-stage doctoral examination processes....
Article
Overseas students who have learned English as a second or foreign language (L2) form a prominent subgroup of research students in Australian universities. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the linguistic experiences of this population in connection with thesis examination and in comparison with first language users of English (L1)....
Conference Paper
Doctoral level study involves learning outcomes such as acquiring deep understanding of existing knowledge, creating new knowledge, creative and critical thinking and reasoning, and defining unique problems. It is a challenging regime, and high attrition among candidates has attracted the attention of governments, universities and researchers. In a...
Article
Though the positive association between a connection to the natural environment and well-being is well established, few studies have examined this association in children, and none have explored whether this relationship remains when accounting for other factors that affect well-being, such as social supports, attention, and empathic skills. The cu...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to respond to the need for a model of doctoral supervision that can capture and represent the focus, range and complexity of instructional intentions, practices and possibilities. Design/methodology/approach The study draws on the substantive literature on supervision and changing doctoral programs in the Fine Arts and re...
Article
Full-text available
There is an expectation that all researchers will act ethically and responsibly in the conduct of research involving humans and animals. While research ethics is mentioned in quality indicators and codes of responsible researcher conduct, it appears to have little profile in doctoral assessment. There seems to be an implicit assumption that ethical...
Article
One of the principal roles of a PhD examiner is to judge ‘both the potential of the researcher and the quality of the research’ (Holbrook, Bourke, Fairbairn, & Lovat, 2014, p. 986). While examiners may be guided by criteria supplied by universities, the descriptors they are provided with can often be open to interpretation. Interpreting an examiner...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The Middle Childhood Survey (MCS) was designed as a computerised self-report assessment of children’s mental health and well-being at approximately 11 years of age, conducted with a population cohort of 87 026 children being studied longitudinally within the New South Wales (NSW) Child Development Study. Participants School Principals prov...
Article
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Purpose The initial aim of this multiagency, multigenerational record linkage study is to identify childhood profiles of developmental vulnerability and resilience, and to identify the determinants of these profiles. The eventual aim is to identify risk and protective factors for later childhood-onset and adolescent-onset mental health problems, an...
Research
Full-text available
Final report from the Australian Research Council Linkage project "Engineering Choices, Engineering Futures"
Chapter
Evaluation of research is a core function of academic work yet there has been very little theoretical development about what it means to ‘know’ in relation to judgements made in examination of doctoral research. This chapter addresses the issue by reflecting on findings from three projects aimed at enhancing understanding of doctoral examination. I...
Article
The paper draws on a series of Australian Research Council (ARC) projects aimed at understanding better the process of doctoral examination. The early phase focussed on the Australian doctorate, which functions without a Viva, while the later phase was concerned with comparing the earlier findings with analysis of the United Kingdom (UK) and New Ze...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, there have been increasing calls for an overall transformation of the nature of engineering Ph.D. programs and the way theses are assessed. There exists a need to understand the examination process to ensure the best quality outcome for candidates in engineering. The work we present in this paper uses data collected between 2003 an...
Article
Full-text available
his article focuses on the use of Photographic Participatory Inquiry (PPI) in researching the teaching and learning of photography in the e-learning environment. It is an arts-informed method drawing on digital tools to capture collective information as digital artefacts, which can then be accessed and harnessed to build critical and reflective pho...
Article
Full-text available
A national cohort of doctoral students (n = 1390) completed a suite of metacognitive questionnaires indicating management of affective, intellectual and contingency demands in learning. Responses to the questionnaires were analysed for evidence of individual differences in reported metacognitive behaviours. Three patterns of metacognitive response...
Article
As we were aware of the confusing and wide-ranging disciplinary and individual positions on the importance of theory in research, this study sought to determine how thesis examiners emphasised theory in their reports in order to inform candidate learning. While references to theory were not prominent in reports, examiner comment coalesced into six...
Article
Full-text available
In practice and process PhD examination is distinctive, reflecting the high expectations of students whose learning has been directed to their becoming researchers. This article builds on previous research on the examination of Australian theses that revealed that examiners in Science (n = 542) and Education (n = 241) provide a substantial proporti...
Article
This paper identifies the nature of initial expectations of PhD candidates, the prevalence and type of mismatch between expectations and experience, and to what extent mismatch is reflected in satisfaction with candidature. The data were drawn from telephone interviews with a sub-sample of 104 PhD candidates from an initial online national survey o...
Article
Full-text available
This paper identifies the nature of initial expectations of PhD candidates, the prevalence and type of mismatch between expectations and experience, and to what extent mismatch is reflected in satisfaction with candidature. The data were drawn from telephone interviews with a sub-sample of 104 PhD candidates from an initial online national survey o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Abstract This paper identifies the nature of initial expectations of PhD candidates, the prevalence and type of mismatch between expectations and experience, and to what extent mismatch is reflected in satisfaction with candidature. The data were drawn from telephone interviews with a sub-sample of 104 PhD candidates from an initial online national...
Book
In 2006 the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) commissioned a team of researchers from the Centre for the Study of Research Training and Impact (SORTI) at the University of Newcastle to write the history of the Association from its inception in 1971 as the National Association for Teacher Education (NATE). This book is the result.
Article
This article presents an analysis of rich data, gathered from interviews with 46 candidates and 38 supervisors from three Australian universities, about experiences of doctoral supervision in cross-cultural situations. Our analysis shows that many of the issues reported by international candidates are the same as those encountered by domestic candi...
Article
Full-text available
For many people, the appeal of music lies in its connection to human emotions. A significant body of research has explored the emotions that are experienced through either the formal structure of music or through its symbolic messages. Yet in the instrumental music education field, this emotional connection is rarely examined. In this article, it i...
Article
Understanding how candidates cope with the demands of PhD candidature is important for institutions, supervisors and candidates. Individual differences in affective and metacognitive disposition were explored in 263 PhD candidates from two Australian universities. Several questionnaires relating to affective and metacognitive beliefs were completed...
Conference Paper
Government accountability, performance and legislative frameworks applied to university research activity are administered by Research Managers and Administrators (RMA). To fulfil these and related functions RMAs are applying an increasingly specialised skill set in the workplace underscored by an ever-growing international profile as an emerging p...
Article
Concerns regarding the nomenclature of university administration in Australia and the UK have featured in the higher education literature for over a decade. In response, a significant nomenclature shift is occurring, with Australian universities replacing the term ‘General Staff’ to describe all administrative and technical staff, in favour of ‘Pro...
Article
Full-text available
Research into musical practice has over recent decades focused on the technical and organisational strategies employed by novices and experts. What has been less studied are the background factors or influences on the quality of this music practice. Drawing on interview data collected from 66 children and adults from a mixed methods project, we inv...
Article
This article focuses on the phenomenon of 'rupture' identified in student narratives of uncertainty and scholarship experienced during the course of Fine Art research degrees in two Australian universities. Rupture captures the phenomenon of severe disruption or discontinuity in existing knowledge and typically signifies epistemological rift for th...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter addresses issues relating to quality learning in the specific context of doctoral study. As the elite level of formal education, doctoral study places a high level of expectation on candidates to contribute in an important and original way to the field of study. This expectation imposes a high metacognitive load on students, in appropr...
Article
The examination of research theses has only relatively recently attracted research interest that has focused on what examiners do and how consistent they are. The research questions in this study address firstly whether PhD and research masters theses were treated by examiners as qualitatively different on 12 indicators of importance across the are...
Article
During this past decade the level of interest in building research capacity has intensified in Australia and internationally, with a particular emphasis on the development of postgraduate research students, but also extending to undergraduate research experience. This study investigated the student experience across a diverse range of fourth-year u...
Conference Paper
The naming of a group is central to identity, including professional identity, and it is clear from the higher education literature that nomenclature has become a long-standing issue for university administration and its sub-groups in at least Australia and the UK. Moreover, despite it being flagged as an area of concern, little has been published...
Article
It is rare for a PhD candidate who submits a thesis for examination to fail outright. If a thesis exhibits significant flaws the candidate may be required to make major revisions and re‐submit the work for re‐examination. The written comments of examiners before and after resubmission can provide important insights into the process of examination a...
Article
Full-text available
The decline in engineering degree enrolments in many western nations poses a range of challenges that are easy to identify but difficult to address. There have been at least 30 major reports on the issue of engineering enrolments in universities and a great many more on an allied issue, enrolments and achievement in science and maths areas at a sec...
Article
This paper considers the profile of research administration, based on a survey of 36 Australian universities. The findings identify a group that is typically female, older and university qualified. Males tend to be more likely than females to have a research higher degree, earn a significantly higher salary and move up the salary scale at a faster...
Article
The article draws on findings from the PhD Examination Project at the SORTI Research Centre of The University of Newcastle, Australia. It focuses on an analysis of the roles of examiner and supervisor, in relation to the candidate, as seen through the lens of Habermas's ‘Ways of Knowing’ theory. On the basis of this, it has been postulated that the...
Article
This paper draws on 159 survey responses of fourth year Education students as they embark on a research project based in their internship school. The project explores predisposition to research and the level of preparedness to undertake a research project. The students who met most frequently with their supervisor and showed higher research self-ef...
Article
This article explores two themes, the first is what examiners look for when judging a doctoral thesis or dissertation, the second is what constitutes an acceptable 'level' of doctoral scholarship. The focus of the analysis will be the literature review, chosen because it is in the presentation and use of the literature that scholarliness will be ev...
Article
Full-text available
Responding to concerns that engineering is a poorly understood occupation and that young people are exposed to stereotyped images of scientists and engineers at an early age, this investigation sought to identify how science and engineering is portrayed in contemporary junior fiction (ages 8–12) and to what extent. An examination of 4,800 junior fi...
Article
This is a mixed methods investigation of consistency in PhD examination. At its core is the quantification of the content and conceptual analysis of examiner reports for 804 Australian theses. First, the level of consistency between what examiners say in their reports and the recommendation they provide for a thesis is explored, followed by an exam...
Article
Full-text available
The review of literature, so central to scholarly work and disciplined inquiry, is expected of the Ph.D. student, but how far along the road are they expected to travel? This article investigates the expectations of ‘the literature’ in research and scholarship at Ph.D. level from the examiner and assessment perspective. The analysis draws on the ex...
Conference Paper
In the current policy documents and debate surrounding the RQF, there has been much interest in how to include, if it is to be included at all, the contribution of research students to quality assessments to be made of each university’s research groups. This paper draws on a mapping exercise that constitutes the first phase of a study on the role o...
Article
Full-text available
The study reported in this paper investigates the examination of fine art doctorates, and specifically how fine art examiners convey their assessment of the exegesis and exhibition in their written reports, drawing on 42 PhD fine art reports. Fine art examiners provided significant amounts of negative appraisal overall, little formative comment, an...
Article
The merger of art schools into academic institutions and the consequent proliferation of higher degree courses in the visual arts has created pressure for these courses to justify that their research content ‘measures up’ to more traditional research practices.This study aimed to identify the parameters for PhD examination and research practices in...
Article
There has been a slow but steady accretion of findings on doctoral assessment and examination processes over the past decade and a half. The study of Australian PhD examination reported here draws on the written reports on 301 theses across all discipline areas. Text categories identified in the reports are linked to other data including the recomm...
Article
Full-text available
Attrition rates and time to completion of PhD candidates has internationally become a concern of governments, universities and the candidates themselves. Suggestions that attrition is too high and, for those candidates who do complete, enrolment times are too long were investigated. Two separate datasets were used, one based initially on all 1195 P...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on doctoral assessment as an area that has been relatively neglected in higher education research. It then describes and justifies a mixed-method approach to the study of PhD examination processes and outcomes in Australia. The design is reported of a study including candidate and candidature information for approximately 800 PhD...
Article
Full-text available
This paper outlines the procedures used in the textual analysis of examiner reports for 101 PhD candidates across disciplines in one Australian University. The method involves the use of QSR software 2 . Three levels of findings are outlined. The first level is the coding categories that emerged out of reading the report text. There are five broad...
Article
The merger of art schools into academic institutions and the subsequent proliferation of higher degree courses in the visual arts has created pressure for these courses to justify that their research content 'measures up' to more traditional research practices. There has been vigorous debate within the Visual Arts field about the place held by rese...
Article
In Australia a desire to increase the return of investment in educational research has led to interest in different aspects of research impact, including the nature of links between research and schooling. One significant group in such links is postgraduate students who are also teachers or educational administrators. Responses were obtained from 1...
Article
This paper primarily examines the potential of the Australian Education Index (AEI) as a tool to map and monitor educational research. The authors provide a range of analyses that identify the thrust of research publications in Australia between 1984 and 1997. Key findings pertain to differences in the thrust of theses compared to other publication...
Article
This paper raises questions about the training debate today in Australia through its examination of the factors, among them the roles of government and professional associations, that influenced the development of engineering technician training and education in New South Wales in the 1950s and 1960s. Technical educators grasped the need for course...
Article
The aims of this study were, first, to consider from a theoretical perspective performance appraisal as a concept and as practised in 1991 in the Hunter Region of the NSW Department of School Education. Second, perceptions of the functioning of performance appraisal held by school principals in the Hunter Region were sought by questionnaire. Opinio...
Article
The purpose of this study was to identify the writing errors made by 310 first year university students in 13 disciplines using a checklist of five writing error categories, each with a number of sub‐categories. The overall median error rate was 3S.0 errors per 1000 words. Punctuation and capitalisation was by far the most common category of error,...
Article
Full-text available
The practice of following the British lead in education was well established in Australia by the end of the nineteenth century. The manifest strength of this tradition and its embodiment by historians, has tended to obscure other, if lesser, influences on Australian education. However, as scholars now turn from mainstream histories of Australian ed...
Article
Despite increasing concern about student writing at the tertiary level there has been little empirical research into the nature and extent of the problem in Australia. The writing skills of three samples of university students in different courses were assessed using the multiple choice English Skills Assessment (ESA) test, and two other measures d...
Article
Full-text available
Once a research project has been completed, one of the most prestigious forms of publication is a journal paper. In the current outputs-driven environment there is not only increasing pressure to publish, but to publish in 'top tier' journals. However, there is little comprehensive information about the range and scope of refereed research journals...
Article
This paper discusses the main analytical techniques used in "Mapping Educational Research and Its Impact on Schools." The study considered the impact of the outcomes of educational research on the practice of teaching and learning in Australian schools and on educational policy and administration. Mixed methods were used, beginning with a review of...
Article
This report provides an analysis of educational research and its impact on Australian schools. It has a particular focus on research done by academic staff and postgraduate students in university faculties of education, since around 90 percent of the resources involved in Australian educational research are located in those faculties. Within the to...
Article
Full-text available
During the past decade, there has been substantial expansion in the provision of both undergraduate and postgraduate programs for overseas students in Australian Universities. The main source of such enrolment has been Asia and the Middle-East, enrolments exceeding 62,000 in 1998. The difficulties encountered by Asian Students who come to Australia...
Article
Full-text available
The process of PhD examination in Australia across academic disciplines requires that the PhD thesis be assessed by two or three external examiners who make a recommendation on the thesis and write detailed supporting comments. The recommendation at one end of the spectrum is to pass the thesis outright, the other end is a terminating fail. However...
Article
Full-text available
Because higher degrees in Fine Art are a relatively recent phenomenon, this field provides a rare opportunity to study research training and assessment objectives virtually from the outset. The findings reported in this paper draw on the interview phase (N =15) of a study that explores examination processes and assessment objectives in Fine Art in...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This project began a decade ago, and the first wave of data collection was in 2013. Many participants provided contact details and permission to invite them for subsequent waves of data collection, enabling longitudinal analysis to understand the stability of learner dispositions across a years-long timeframe. The ethics is through for that follow-up study, so watch this space!