Project

RESEARCHER'S IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIAL SCIENCES (Formación de la identidad del investigador novel) FINS-RIDSS.

Goal: This is a cross-national research project (Spain, UK, Finland and Switzerland) aimed at examining the identity development of PhD students and post-PhD university researchers (http://www.fins-ridss.com/home).
We applied a mixed-method approach to enhance, illustrate and clarify individuals’ perceptions through a set of different complementary studies implying different phases.

1rst Phase
The first of these studies has implied the development of a cross-cultural, multilingual survey in which open-ended and Likert-items were combined, to analyse researchers’ conceptions, agency, research engagement, researcher and supervisory support and significant positive and negative experiences. Results lead us to establish different profiles of researchers based on their research and writing conceptions, the support they received and the challenges or incidents they experienced through this journey.

2nd Phase
In the second study multimodal interviews has been conducted with a subset of survey respondents to explore their experiences in greater depth. Interviews have been complemented with Journey Plots to collect longitudinal experiences and Network Plots to explore researchers’ active engagement in their communities. Current analysis of data from 70 cross-country interviews led us to rethink how we frame researcher experience of community interaction, research writing and publication and engagement and abandonment intentions.

3rd Phase
The third study includes the design and piloting of a educational proposal aimed at facilitating junior researchers deal with identified negative experiences and critical incidents in an adjusted and efficient manner. Different educational videos and training modules have been already developed (www.fins-ridds)

4rd Phase
The fourth phase is devoted to the design, launch and managing of a digital space including an instructional block and interactive resources for planning, executing and communicating written projects. It also includes an interactive space where researchers and supervisors can manage their experiences and create networks to effectively support their researcher development.

Methods: Journey Plots, Network Plots, Open-ended surveys, Digital questionnaires, Multimodal interviews, Cross-cultural questionnaire

Date: 30 December 2014 - 30 December 2017

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Montserrat Castelló
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Are you a PhD holder working outside academia in the UK and graduated between 2014-2019? Do you want to contribute to a research project? We'd like to interview you to learn about your trajectory! Check the project’s website for more details http://tinyurl.com/phdout. If you want to participate, leave your contact information at this link: http://tinyurl.com/phdproj. We’d welcome your spreading this message. Thanks! #beyondacademia #phd #careeradvancement #leavingacademia
 
Crista Weise
added a research item
Previous studies have demonstrated that nurses’ transition to academia is complex and influences the construction of their professional identity. The aim of this study was to analyze the construction of academic nurses’ identities within the framework of dialogical self theory, especially the internal positions they deployed and the main contradictions they faced during professional transitions. A qualitative multiple-case study was conducted and fieldwork was performed between September and December 2016. The participants were three academic nurses working at different Spanish universities. The nurses wrote narrative diaries for 4 months and three interviews were conducted before, during, and after the diary writing. The main tensions identified concerned their I-positions within the research and teaching spheres. Nursing research is still linked or subordinated to other professional contexts. In the teaching sphere, the main tensions involved the assessment process. Transitioning to the teaching sphere requires specialized training in research and teaching skills, as well as specific support to enable nurses to meet multiple challenges and foster their professional development. Thus, this study highlights the need to refocus future nurses’ training by reevaluating the academic field and the need for specific programs to enhance the transition from clinical practice to academia for future academic nurses.
Crista Weise
added a research item
Purpose Teamwork has long featured in social science research. Further, with research increasingly “cross-national,” communication becomes more complex, for instance, involving different cultures, languages and modes of communication. Yet, studies examining team communicative processes that can facilitate or constrain collaboration are rare. As a cross-national European team representing varied disciplines, experiences, languages and ethnicities, we undertook to examine our communication processes with the aim to promote better qualitative research practices. Design/methodology/approach Viewing reflection as a tool for enhancing workplace practices, we undertook a structured reflection. We developed an empirically derived framework about team communication, then used it to analyse our interaction practices and their relative effectiveness. Findings The results highlighted two under-examined influences, the use of different modes of communication for different purposes and the need for face-to-face communication to address a particularly challenging aspect of research, negotiating a shared coding scheme to analyse diverse cultural and linguistic qualitative data. Practical implications The study offers a procedure and concepts that others could use to examine their team communication. Originality/value The communicative processes that can constrain and facilitate effective cross-national research team collaboration are rarely examined. The results emphasise the need for careful negotiations around language, epistemologies, cultures and goals from the moment collaboration begins in formulating a project, through applying for grant funds, to when the last paper is published – timely in a context in which such work is increasingly expected.
Isabelle Skakni
added a research item
Prior studies have reported high levels of PhD stress resulting in exhaustion and cynicism related to negative institutional factors. Yet, we know little of the possible influence of personal lives on exhaustion/ cynicism. This mixed-methods study examines the interrelation. We drew on exhaustion, cynicism, life-work relation scales and free-write responses about managing life and work of 123 Swiss PhD students. Respondents typically reported positive life-work relations, with this experience particularly buffering exhaustion, which can lead to cynicism and possibly burnout. The analysis of free-write responses supported this view. Respondents reported they largely balanced/managed to balance life and work, with family most frequently referenced in this regard. Finally, we combined the scaled and free-write responses. Individuals, even if reporting exhaustion and negative aspects in their life-work relations, consistently reported being able to combine their career and life goals. This alignment may serve as a mechanism for buffering other life-work and institutional challenges.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added an update
The event is composed of a series of short sessions on different areas of researcher development and careers and will take place on Dec 10th and 11th. Each day features different sessions led by researchers and experts in the field of researcher development and will draw on research findings to offer insights and resources for managing research careers. Below you will find an overview of the schedule and the sessions. For a detailed description of the events and links to registration, visit https://www.researcher-identity.com/dissemination-event-2020.
Description of the sessions:
How does early career researchers’ well-being matter and how to enhance it? By Kirsi Pyhältö (U. of Helsinki, Finland). December 10th. 10’00-10’45 (CET).
Designed for early career researchers and their supervisors, the session will focus on research-based strategies and practices to enhance well-being among early career researchers.
Supporting research ethics and integrity development in HE institutions. By Anu Tammeleht (U. Tallinn, Estonia) & Erika Löfström (U. Helsinki, Finland). December 10th. 11’00-11’45 (CET). This session will give insights to research ethics competence development through evidence-based training resources and provide participants with an opportunity to try out some tasks themselves to gain first-hand experience on how the resource works.
Early career researchers’ careers: sustaining research careers and employability. By Mathew Tata, representative of the European Council for Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers - EURODOC. December 10th. 12’00-12’45 (CET). In this session, Mat will discuss what is needed to make a sustainable research career, and discuss what factors contribute to researcher ‘precarity’. Finally, Mat will explore how to remain employable in spite of the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gender & Science: Promoting women’s participation in the scientific community. By Núria Catalán CNRS-UMR, France; USGS, USA), Ada Pastor (Aarhus U., Denmark) and Sílvia Poblador (U. of Antwerp, Belgium), representatives of the Gender & Science AIL. December 10th. 13’00-13’45 (CET).The Gender & Science AIL group aims at fostering women’s visibility within the scientific community and proposing recommendations for improving gender equality in institutions related with limnology. In this session, they will present the group and the activities they do, and they will present their last work aimed at examining women participation and visibility during scientific conferences.
Managing your PhD to build your career. By Lynn McAlpine (Oxford U., UK & McGill U, Canada). December 10th. 16’00-16’45 (CET time). Have you ever wondered what else you could be doing to advance your PhD progress and outcomes? This session, designed for anyone doing a PhD but particularly those early on, will give you a chance to reflect on the effectiveness of your present strategies to advance.
Transversal skills for doctoral candidates: universal for all professional paths?. Joan Josep Carvajal (Group for the Professionalization of the Doctorate, Postgraduate and Doctoral School - Universitat Rovira i Virgili). December 10th. 17’00-17’45 (CET time). Which models of transversal skills do we have at present for doctoral candidates? Are these transversal skills universal for all professional paths for doctorate holders? We open a reflection about which transversal skills doctoral candidates have to develop to fuel their future professional careers.
Getting along with my supervisor: Building a satisfactory relationship. By Gabriela González-Ocampo (UPAEP U., Mexico). December 10th. 18’00-18’45 (CET time). This session will focus on how both doctoral researchers and supervisors can contribute to nurture and sustain this relationship, with reflection about the relationship with our supervisors and recognition of the challenges and achievements as key factors to enhance doctoral experience and learning.
Access to the labor market for Doctors (PhD survey 2020). By Anna Prades i Nebot (AQU Catalunya, Spain). December 11th. 10’00-10’45 (CET time). AQU Catalunya is presenting the results of the PhD Survey 2020 about the access to the labour market experienced by doctors graduating from Catalan universities, and the trends in the labor market conditions and the satisfaction with PhD training since 2008.
Publish or perish. By Alexander Hasgall (European University Association Council for Doctoral Education). December 11th. 11’00-11’45 (CET time). The “publish and perish” culture ruling the academy prevents academics from engaging in other activities and forms of communicating their research, and impacts their self-perception. The session will focus these problems, but also discuss alternative approaches to (academic) career assessment that enable early career researchers to develop their full potential.
Precarious careers: postdoctoral researchers in the Netherlands. By Inge van der Weijden (Leiden U, The Netherlands). December 11th. 12’00-12’45 (CET time). The session will review how, in the context of labour market instability, postdoctoral researchers experience their working conditions and their prospects and opportunities, in relation to their wellbeing. We will discuss the dual controversy postdocs face in dealing with it and the main stress factors.
PhD Holders in Non-Academic Careers. By Kelsey Inouye (Oxford & Lancaster U., UK). December 11th. 15’00-15’45 (CET time). This session will explore PhD holders’ non-academic careers in the UK and Switzerland and discuss strategies for finding positions, factors influencing career decision-making, and participants' perceptions of the usefulness and relevance of their PhDs.
 
Crista Weise
added a research item
Early career researchers’ journey (i.e. doctoral researchers and post-PhDs) is increasingly challenging, but little is known about how they live and interpret their significant experiences, that is how they attribute meaning to these experiences and their associated feelings. Moreover, research about how doctoral researchers and post-PhDs deal differently with such experiences remains scarce, especially when accounting for the interpretation of significant experiences across countries. This paper explores how role (doctoral researchers or post-PhDs) and country (Spain, UK and Switzerland) can influence individuals’ interpretation of significant events. It draws on the most significant events reported by 544 early career researchers in two open-ended questions. Analyses revealed differences between roles only regarding the sense-making, especially in the future implications, and across countries in both the sense-making and the associated feelings. This interaction between role and cultural/workplace practices, is the most compelling, especially given the high mobility expected of post-PhDs.
Carles Monereo
added a research item
This study analyses early career researchers' identity positions from a dialogical-self perspective and their experiences when facing significant research events over their career trajectory. An idiographic longitudinal approach, based on the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), and a narrative methodology were used. Five social science researchers at the beginning of their careers fulfilled a Journey Plot and participated in longitudinal in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Seven researchers' identity positions emerged from the phenomenological analysis: administrative, tutored-student, academic writer, subject content learner, research designer, academic speaker, and research community member. Results also showed differences in positions' frequency and distribution when considering research and teaching careers.
Crista Weise
added a research item
Based on the dialogical-self theory the study aims to determine how a course based on identity de-velopment might contribute to changes in the I-positions of the participants. The study explores what changes did occur and also determine which devices contributed the most to the I-position’s devel-opment of the students as researchers. The investigation was held within the course of the research line in an Official Master in Educational Psychology at a Spanish University. The findings suggest that there have been significant changes in the student’s I-positions, specifically strengthening those re-lated to research. The methods that have contributed the most were the role-playing, the after class reports, and the peer interview. Therefore, these findings contribute not only to a better under-standing of the process of changing and developing I-positions as a way to become a researcher, but also to provide valuable educational methods to improve junior researchers’ formation.
Crista Weise
added a research item
This study focuses on furthering the understanding of doctoral researcher development, through the examination of significant events and application of the trajectories analysis framework. Conducting doctoral studies requires a high level of cognitive, personal and emotional competency. Students experience positive and negative emotions that affect their confidence and their performance, in both their doctoral studies and their personal life. Purpose The aim of the study was to analyse, in depth, the emotional experiences of doctoral students when faced with different significant events throughout their doctoral studies and examine associations between their emotions and their trajectory. Methodology A sub-sample of participants from a wider European study of 10 Spanish doctoral students was analysed. To delve into the emotional aspects of the PhD trajectories, a deeper analysis of three cases was carried out. A qualitative interpretative approach of a transversal nature was adopted to analyse, in detail, the type of events and the type of emotions associated along the students’ PhD trajectories. Findings The analysis suggested that, despite the high negative emotions they felt, the participants valued the experiences lived throughout their doctorates and perceived them as mainly positive rather than negative. The most critical situations were linked to methodological and research design decisions that forced the participants to reassess their competencies and address the implications of these decisions in the final outputs of their research. The relationship with their supervisors was valued as crucial for their emotional well-being. The results highlight the relevance of the meaning-making process of the experience and the effect of previous emotions on how students interpret and cope with future events. Conclusions Identifying specific issues that are emotionally significant and having a better understanding of the role of emotions experienced during the PhD can help to support and enable programme directors and supervisors to establish clearer monitoring and supervision strategies that promote reinforcement, personal validation, visibility of achievements and sustained motivation. KEYWORDS: Emotional competency, significant events, PhD studies, early academic careers, higher education, well-being
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
The thesis takes a socially situated perspective to explore doctoral development and doctoral writing from a multimethodological approach (different designs, instruments and analysis procedures). Based on a this theoretical perspective, doctoral development is defined as a process of learning to be(come) an independent researcher within one or many (inter)disciplinary communities. Writing is one of the most influential factors in this learning process, as it is an essential mediating and promoting tool, a second stimuli of the research and learning processes in which doctoral students are involved. Despite the growing interest on doctoral education, little is known about how doctoral students learn along the doctorate, especially in our context. Moreover, there is still the need to design and apply innovative research tools to research the topic. Therefore, this thesis aims to explore doctoral students’ development and writing from a socially situated theoretical perspective, and to map, design and assess different tools to analyse these issues. To achieve the objectives, we conducted three empirical studies and a literature review. The first one is a multiple case study aimed at exploring four doctoral students’ most significant experiences and the relationship between them and students' perceived position in the research community. We also sought to explore the utility of a multimodal interview in which the Journey Plot and Community Plot instruments were used. The qualitative analysis revealed that both positive and negative experiences were significant in students’ trajectories but the proportion varied greatly across participants. Results showed that research writing experiences were significant in relation to all the social agents and that supervisors played a significant role in participants' perceived position in the community, especially when they were involved in negative experiences. The second empirical study aim to explore individual doctoral students’ research writing perceptions across three countries (Spain, Finland and UK) and how these perceptions relate individuals’ research conditions and social support. Responses to Doctoral Experience survey of 1,463 doctoral students were analysed to determine the structure of the research writing scale, research writing profiles were identified and compared regarding research conditions and experience and social support. The Productive, Reduced productivity and Struggler writing profiles were identified. They differed from each other in terms of experienced research community and supervisory support and number of publications, but were similar in terms of country or language of the dissertation. Results showed students still lack opportunities to write with and from other researchers. The third study, a literature review, sought to build a comprehensive picture of the state of writing regulation research in Higher Education in the last two decades. The characteristics of 51 studies were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively in relation to their theoretical perspective, objectives and methodological options. Results indicated that some methodological characteristics were related to theoretical perspectives, while others depended on their objectives. The three theoretical perspectives presented differed in their diversity across different objectives. Some underdeveloped issues and research challenges were identified. This results guided the design of the fourth study, which aimed to characterize doctoral students’ on-line regulation processes in a real and natural setting, and how these processes are modified by feedback. Two doctoral students wrote an extended abstract of their research article, received feedback and revised their texts under natural conditions. Screen-recorder and keystroke logging software, writing logs and an open-ended questionnaire were used to collect data. The analysis was based on the unit of analysis 'Regulation Episode'. Results showed writing an extended abstract was a challenging task for the two writers. Writers relied on their own sources to write the first draft and showed more strategic and flexible regulation processes after feedback. Results also suggest writing regulation is a fundamentally social process. Overall, the thesis contributed to increase our understanding of the role of writing in doctoral development, especially in relation to doctoral students' participation in the research communities. The different methods and the mixed-method approach of the thesis as a whole provide evidence of different ways to approach the study of doctoral students’ experiences and writing from a socially situated perspective, both in relation to the design and instruments and the analysis of the data. Pedagogical contributions of the work are also discussed along with its limitations and potential future lines of research.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
Aim/Purpose: This study aimed to explore individual variation in doctoral candidates’ perceptions about research writing and themselves as writers (research writing perceptions) across three countries (Spain, Finland, and the UK) and the relationship with doctoral candidates’ research conditions and social support. Background: The present study employed a person-centered approach to identify profiles among doctoral candidates’ in relation to their research writing perceptions and the association between these profiles and research conditions and experiences (e.g., thesis format, thesis language, enrollment modality, phase of the doctorate, number of publications, and drop-out intentions) and perceived social support from supervisors and research community. Methodology: 1,463 doctoral candidates responded to the Doctoral Experience survey. EFA and CFA were used to corroborate the factor structure of the research writing scale. Research writing profiles were identified by employing cluster analysis and compared regarding research conditions and experience and both types of social support. Contribution: This study contributes to the literature on doctoral development by providing evidence on the social nature of doctoral candidates’ writing development. It is argued that doctoral candidates’ perceptions of writing are related to transversal factors, such as doctoral candidates’ researcher identity and genre knowledge. It also shows that most candidates still lack opportunities to write and learn to write with and from other researchers. Findings: Three writing profiles were identified: Productive, Reduced productivity, and Struggler profiles. Participants in the Productive profile experienced more researcher community and supervisory support and had more publications, Struggler writers reported drop-out intentions more often than participants in the other profiles, and Reduced productivity writers were more likely to not know the format of the thesis. The three profiles presented similar distribution in relation to participants’ country, the language in which they were writing their dissertation, and whether they were participating in a research team. Recommendations for Practitioners: Supervisors and doctoral schools need to be aware of difficulties involved in writing at the PhD level for all doctoral candidates, not only for those writing in a second language, and support them in developing transformative research writing perceptions and establishing collaboration with other researchers. Research teams need to reflect on the writing support and opportunities they offer to doctoral candidates in promoting their writing development. Recommendations for Researchers: Further studies should take into account that the development of research writing perceptions is a complex process that might be affected by many and diverse factors and vary along the doctoral trajectory]. Future Research: Future research could explore the influence of factors such as engagement or research interest on doctoral candidates’ research writing perceptions. The field could also benefit from longitudinal studies exploring changes in doctoral candidates’ research writing perceptions.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added 4 project references
Montserrat Castelló
added 4 research items
El texto ofrece estrategias para enseñar la voz académica en los procesos de escritura de estudiantes universitarios.
Introducción. En las últimas décadas, la escritura se viene considerando como un proceso situado que se inscribe en una situación comunicativa específica. Esto implica que los textos se caracterizan por incorporar las distintas voces de los textos con los que dialoga, de manera que resulta imposible concebirlos de forma aislada.Método. Se trata de un studio exploratorio que pretende conocer las dificultades y estrategias efectivas que 19 estudiantes de doctorado utilizan a la hora de regular el proceso de escritura de sus textos académicos. Este estudio analiza el conocimiento que los estudiantes tienen sobre su proceso de composición así como las emociones asociadas al mismo, sus concepciones sobre la escritura académica, las estrategias de revisión presentes en los diferentes borradores de los textos, y la calidad de la versión final de los mismos.Resultados. Los resultados revelan que la regulación y la calidad de los textos están relacionadas con la capacidad de los escritores para relacionar sus preocupaciones con soluciones y estrategias explícitas. Los esfuerzos y el interés de los estudiantes para hacer su voz visible en sus textos así como su consciencia sobre su propio proceso de escritura están relacionados con la calidad del texto y con algunos cambios específicos en los borradores, relacionados con la voz y la modalidad. Las variables afectivas y, especialmente, la ansiedad estuvieron siempre presentes en los informes de los estudiantes pero no se hallaron relaciones significativas entre este sentimiento y la calidad del texto o el uso de estrategias específicas en la revisión del mismo.Discusión y Conclusiones. Los resultados obtenidos nos permiten confirmar que, de acuerdo con studios recientes, los estudiantes que se muestran menos conscientes sobre su propio proceso de escritura se sienten más ansiosos durante el mismo. Además, muy pocos de estos estudiantes mostraron objetivos de escritura personales y explícitos, y se mostraron poco ágiles a la hora de incorporar nuevas estrategias a su proceso de revisión.
Montserrat Castelló
added 2 research items
University Writing: Selves and Texts in Academic Societies examines new trends in the different theoretical perspectives (cognitive, social and cultural) and derived practices in the activity of writing in higher education. These perspectives are analyzed on the basis of their conceptualization of the object – academic and scientific writing; of the writers – their identities, attitudes and perspectives, be it students, teachers or researchers; and of the derived instructional practices – the ways in which the teaching-learning situations may be organized. The volume samples writing research traditions and perspectives both in Europe and the United States, working on their situated nature and avoiding easy or superficial comparisons in order to enlarge our understanding of common problems and some emerging possibilities. In addition, the volume promotes a dialogue between these perspectives and traditions and, by addressing the identified needs and unsolved questions, bridges gaps and move forward in our knowledge regarding academic writing activities in higher education settings. University Writing: Selves and Texts in Academic Societies is addressed to researchers, advanced students and those academics interested in learning about European and North-American writing research traditions in dialogue and about how to take the individual and social perspectives in writing into account.
In this chapter we present the approach to teaching and learning academic writing we have implemented in an educational intervention in the academic community of Psychology aimed at fostering the development of students’ authorial identity and academic voice in Academic Research Paper Writing. This approach is supported by the theoretical consideration of academic writing as a social and cultural practice and of writing research papers is a matter of enculturation into a new community.The educational intervention focuses on three key aspects: seeking to help students develop a complex conceptualization of texts as artifacts-in-activity, regulate their writing activity and develop an authorial identity and academic voice.Qualitative analysis of students discourse and changes in drafts were carried out in order to understand the students’ construction of knowledge, the sense and the meaning they attribute to their writing practices. This kind of analysis has thrown light into certain contradictions and tensions which appeared all along the intervention and which had been rarely highlighted by teaching and learning academic writing research. In most cases, these contradictions may be considered as problems or conflicts but also as the engine that makes learning possible. Three major types of contradictions and some of the conflicts they originate from were identified. The first one refers to the students’ efforts to construct their authorial identity; the second one has to do with how students relate the need and interest of their own writer’s postioning with the use of some linguistic resources in their texts, and the last one has to do with the tension between considering texts as artifacts versus texts as objects in students’ revisions.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
In Higher Education (HE), writers need to regulate their writing processes in order to achieve their communicative goals. Although critical for academic success and knowledge construction, writing regulation processes have been mainly researched in compulsory education rather than in HE, with no systematic review focused on this context. The purpose of this article was to build a comprehensive picture of the state of writing regulation research in HE by conducting a systematic analysis of the studies on this topic in the last two decades. Studies’ characteristics were analysed in light of both their theoretical perspective and objectives. Results indicated the three theoretical perspectives and diversity of objectives were equally represented. Some methodological characteristics, such as context of study, were significantly related to theoretical perspectives, while the selection of instruments depended on their objectives. A qualitative analysis of the studies showed that cognitive studies methods’ varied in relation to their objectives, while sociocognitive studies used heterogeneous methods, and sociocultural studies used similar methods regardless their objective. Writing regulation in HE is a growing field with great variety of topics and objectives, yet there are still some underdeveloped issues and research challenges such as integrating emotions in the analysis, looking for more comprehensive methods that account for regulation in situated HE writing contexts, and clarifying the conceptual underpinnings of the perspective of writing regulation adopted in each study.
Montserrat Castelló
added a research item
Thesis work is the first important research where the PhD candidate has to take primary responsibility for their work. Sometimes it is forgotten, or at least not enough attention is paid to the fact, that for many PhD students it is also the first time they have to face such a complex, ultimately self-regulated learning task (Sachs, 2002, p.99) as thesis writing. But what do the protagonists think about it? There is a gap in the literature concerning studies that focus on PhD students’ writing conceptions as a main target. The aim of this study was to validate the structure of the Writing Process Questionnaire developed by Lonka and her colleagues (Lonka et al., 2014). To do this, we asked two groups of 631 Spanish and 431 Mexican PhD students to complete the questionnaire, and used Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) to assess the validity of a hypothesized 6-factor model, and to test its invariance across the two groups. The results confirmed the broad 6-factor structure of the questionnaire but indicated that the knowledge transforming sub-scale needed to be revised into a more specific knowledge creation factor. This modified structure generalized across both the Spanish and Mexican samples. We suggest that the revised structure for the knowledge transforming factor reflects the fact that these two groups of Spanish-speaking PhD students perceive the development of knowledge in writing as a solitary rather than a collaborative process. Our research provides evidence that the Writing Process Questionnaire is a reliable and generalizable measure, having shown strong invariance properties in the two populations studied.
Montserrat Castelló
added 2 research items
Post-PhD researchers working at universities are contributors to a country’s productivity and competitiveness mostly through writing, which becomes a means to establish their scholarly identity as they contribute to knowledge. However, little is known about researchers’ writing perceptions, and their interrelations with engagement in research, productivity and the influence of workplace climate, which, if negative, can result in burnout and abandonment intentions. In this paper, we explore these issues for the first time. Using a cross-sectional design, 282 postdoctoral researchers answered a cross-cultural questionnaire focusing on engagement, scientific writing, researcher community and burnout, and socio-demographic variables. Data analysis included exploratory factor analysis, T-test, ANOVA or Mann–Whitney U (SPSS, v.22). Results showed that adaptive perceptions of writing were related to higher levels of engagement, lower levels of burnout and productivity; maladaptive perceptions of writing were related to burnout experiences. The consideration of research writing as a developmental process that can take many years beyond the PhD is discussed. Critical to understanding such development is the extent to which a shift in perception of writing to knowledge creation may be a precursor to more adaptive functional behaviours. Educational insights related to constraints in writing, publication processes and related research conditions are also considered.
This volume focuses on new trends in different theoretical perspectives (social, cultural, and cognitive) and derived practices, as relevant to the situated nature of the activity of writing in higher education. These perspectives are analyzed here on the basis of their conceptualization of the object, which is scholarly writing; of the writers, particularly their identities, attitudes, and perspectives, be it students, teachers, or researchers; and of the instructional practices, especially the ways in which the teaching–learning situations may be organized taking the former into account.
Montserrat Castelló
added an update
Pyhältö, K., McAlpine, L., Peltonen, J., & Castello, M. (2017). How does social support contribute to engaging post-PhD experience?. European Journal of Higher Education, 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2017.1348239
 
Montserrat Castelló
added a research item
This paper presents a study designed from a socially situated and activity theory perspective aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of how Ph.D. students regulate their academic writing activity. Writing regulation is a complex activity of a highly situated and social nature, involving cycli-cal thought-action-emotion dynamics and the individual's capacity to monitor his/her activity. The central purpose was to analyze how writing regulation takes place within the framework of an educational intervention, a seminar designed to help Ph.D. students write their first re-search articles. The seminar not only focused on teaching the discursive resources of disciplinary articles in psychology but also sought to develop students' recognition of epistemic stances (ways of knowing) and identities (ways of being) of their academic and disciplinary communities. While doing this, the seminar also aimed at helping students overcome the contradictions they encountered as they constructed their identities as researchers and writers through writing. We collected data on seminar participants' perceptions (through analyses of interviews, diaries, and in-class interaction) and practices (through analyses of successive drafts and peers' and tutors' text revisions). Contradictions represent a challenge for which the individual does not have a clear answer. Consequently, solutions need to be creative and often painful; that is, the individual needs to work out something qualitatively different from a mere combination of two competing forces. The unit of analysis was the "Regulation Episode," defined as the sequences of discourse and/or action from which a contradiction may be inferred and which, in turn, lead to the imple-mentation of innovative actions to solve. Results showed that contradictions regarding students' conceptualizations of their texts—as artifacts-in-activity versus as end-products—and of their identities as disciplinary writers become visible through certain discursive manifestations such as "dilemmas" and "critical conflicts" (Engeström & Sannino, 2011). Dilemmas were more difficult to solve than other discursive manifestations, and they mostly appeared in regulation episodes when students were grappling with their identities as disciplinary writers. Regulation of writing identity was slower and more difficult than regulation connected to text conceptualization as an artifact-in-activity. The development of students' disciplinary writing identity was affected by
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
Despite the increasing popularity of doctoral education, many students do not complete their studies, and very little information is available about them. Understanding why some students consider that they do not want to, or cannot, continue with their studies is essential to reduce dropout rates and to improve the overall quality of doctoral programmes. This study focuses on the motives students give for considering dropping out of their doctoral degree. Participants were 724 social sciences doctoral students from 56 Spanish universities, who responded to a questionnaire containing doctoral degree conditions questions and an open-ended question on motives for dropping out. Results showed that a third of the sample, mainly the youngest, female and part time students, stated that they had intended to drop out. The most frequent motives for considering dropping out were difficulties in achieving a balance between work, personal life and doctoral studies and problems with socialization. Overall, results offer a complex picture that has implications for the design of doctoral programmes, such as the conditions and demands of part-time doctoral studies or the implementation of educational proposals that facilitate students’ academic and personal integration into the scientific community in order to prevent the development of a culture of institutional neglect.
Manuela Álvarez
added 2 research items
Se presenta una investigación sobre la incidencia de las instrucciones para la realización de la actividad escritora, así como de las actitudes, las estrategias y los estilos de aprendizaje, en la calidad de las producciones escritas en estudiantes universitarios. Partimos de una concepción sociocognitiva de la escritura, según la cual, el contexto sociocultural en el que el texto se insiere, los objetivos y características personales y las actitudes influyen en el proceso escritor y en la producción escrita. Se ha trabajado con una muestra de 489 estudiantes, a quienes se les ha solicitado la producción de un texto argumentativo con dos variantes de instrucciones. Para la valoración de la calidad de las producciones se ha utilizado una tabla de criterios validada por expertos. El instrumento utilizado para la medición de estilos de aprendizaje ha sido una versión adaptada (Yániz & Villardón, 2002) del cuestionario CHAEA (Alonso, Gallego & Honey, 1994). Para la medición de actitudes hacia la escritura se utilizó la EMAE, Escala de Medición de Actitudes hacia la Escritura (Álvarez, Villardón & Yániz, 2005). Para identificar las estrategias utilizadas para el proceso de composición escrita se pidió una descripción cronológica de las mismas. Los resultados de este estudio indican que la calidad de la escritura es bastante baja. La calidad alta se asocia a algunas estrategias como la planificación, la relación de ideas y la revisión del escrito; y a actitudes positivas hacia la escritura, principalmente la afición y la utilidad percibida para el aprendizaje y la reflexión.
En este artículo se presentan los resultados de un estudio realizado para conocer las tareas de escritura que realizan los estudiantes universitarios de último año de carrera. Los resultados indican que las tareas más frecuentes son las que implican registrar información. Por el contrario, las tareas que favorecen la generación del conocimiento se realizan con menor frecuencia. Se comentan las implicaciones de estos resultados en el marco de las demandas que la sociedad del conocimiento realiza a la universidad.
Anna Sala-Bubaré
added a research item
Despite the growing number of studies exploring PhD students’ experiences and their social relationships with other researchers, there is a lack of research on the interaction between the type of experiences and the social agents involved, especially in relation to not only problems and challenges, but also to positive emotions and experiences. In this study, we addressed this gap exploring the relationship between four ecology doctoral students’ most significant experiences and their perceived position in the research community. Additionally, we aimed at exploring the utility of a methodological device with two instruments, Journey Plot and Community Plot. Results showed, in one hand, that both positive and negative experiences were significant in students’ trajectories, but the proportion varied greatly across participants. Supervisors were related to negative experiences, whereas the broader community was mostly source of positive experiences. Research writing and communication experiences were significant in relation to all the social agents, while other contents of experience were restricted to the smallest social layers (e.g. research motives were confined to the individual layer, and research organization to the individual and supervisor layers). Relationships between the type of experiences and participants’ position in the community were found and implications for doctoral education discussed.
Montserrat Castelló
added 2 research items
Despite the increasing popularity of doctoral education, many students do not complete their studies, and very little information is available about them. Understanding why some students consider that they do not want to, or cannot, continue with their studies is essential to reduce dropout rates and to improve the overall quality of doctoral programmes. This study focuses on the motives students give for considering dropping out of their doctoral degree. Participants were 724 social sciences doctoral students from 56 Spanish universities, who responded to a questionnaire containing doctoral degree conditions questions and an open-ended question on motives for dropping out. Results showed that a third of the sample, mainly the youngest, female and part time students, stated that they had intended to drop out. The most frequent motives for considering dropping out were difficulties in achieving a balance between work, personal life and doctoral studies and problems with socialization. Overall, results offer a complex picture that has implications for the design of doctoral programmes, such as the conditions and demands of part-time doctoral studies or the implementation of educational proposals that facilitate students’ academic and personal integration into the scientific community in order to prevent the development of a culture of institutional neglect.
Resumen En este capítulo nos proponemos definir los retos actuales del estudio de la alfabetización académica analizando su carácter situado, social e interdisciplinar y su impacto en las situaciones educativas que se promueven en la universidad. Esta caracterización no ha empezado a ser ampliamente aceptada por la comunidad científica hasta los últimos veinte años y es, por tanto, heredera de tradiciones teóricas y epistemológicas anteriores. En primer lugar haremos un repaso al estado actual de la investigación en escritura académica situando geográfica, conceptual y epistemológicamente los enfoques predominantes. En un segundo momento analizaremos las implicaciones educativas de estos enfoques haciendo especial énfasis en el rol de los centros de escritura como agentes dinamizadores de la renovación en las prácticas de escritura y de alfabetización académica en contextos anglosajones. Finalmente, analizaremos el estado de la cuestión en el contexto español y daremos cuenta de algunas iniciativas de investigación recientes que tienen por objetivo avanzar en nuestro conocimiento acerca de las prácticas de alfabetización académica en nuestro contexto y sensibilizar a la comunidad universitaria de los retos a los que se enfrentan profesores y estudiantes Palabras clave: escritura académica, escritura a través del currículo, escritura en las disciplinas, concepciones sobre la escritura
Montserrat Castelló
added 2 research items
Within the current higher education context, early career researchers (ECRs) face a ‘risk-career’ in which predictable, stable academic careers have become increasingly rare. Traditional milestones to signal progress toward a sustainable research career are disappearing or subject to reinterpretation, and ECRs need to attend to new or reimagined signals in their efforts to develop a researcher identity in this current context. In this article, we present a comprehensive framework for researcher identity in relation to the ways ECRs recognise and respond to divergent signals across spheres of activity. We illustrate this framework through eight identity stories drawn from our earlier research projects. Each identity story highlights the congruence (or lack of congruence) between signals across spheres of activity and emphasises the different ways ECRs respond to these signals. The proposed comprehensive framework allows for the analysis of researcher identity development through the complex and intertwined activities in which ECRs are involved. We advance this approach as a foundation for a sustained research agenda to understand how ECRs identify and respond to relevant signals, and, consequently, to unravel the complex interplay between signals and spheres of activity evident in struggles to become researchers in a risk-career environment.
This introductory article of the special issue has a threefold aim. First, it presents the objectives and background of the Research Network on Academic Writing in Teaching and Learning Processes (Red para la Investigación de la Escritura Académica en los procesos de Enseñanza y Aprendizaje; RIEA-EA); secondly, it points out the more urgent challenges that research on academic writing is currently facing at Spanish universities. These challenges are the underpinning of the studies presented in this special issue, which focus on faculty and student representations about the characteristics and role of writing within teaching and learning processes. Finally, it explains the organisation and characteristics of the articles included in this special issue.
Montserrat Castelló
added a project goal
This is a cross-national research project (Spain, UK, Finland and Switzerland) aimed at examining the identity development of PhD students and post-PhD university researchers (http://www.fins-ridss.com/home).
We applied a mixed-method approach to enhance, illustrate and clarify individuals’ perceptions through a set of different complementary studies implying different phases.
1rst Phase
The first of these studies has implied the development of a cross-cultural, multilingual survey in which open-ended and Likert-items were combined, to analyse researchers’ conceptions, agency, research engagement, researcher and supervisory support and significant positive and negative experiences. Results lead us to establish different profiles of researchers based on their research and writing conceptions, the support they received and the challenges or incidents they experienced through this journey.
2nd Phase
In the second study multimodal interviews has been conducted with a subset of survey respondents to explore their experiences in greater depth. Interviews have been complemented with Journey Plots to collect longitudinal experiences and Network Plots to explore researchers’ active engagement in their communities. Current analysis of data from 70 cross-country interviews led us to rethink how we frame researcher experience of community interaction, research writing and publication and engagement and abandonment intentions.
3rd Phase
The third study includes the design and piloting of a educational proposal aimed at facilitating junior researchers deal with identified negative experiences and critical incidents in an adjusted and efficient manner. Different educational videos and training modules have been already developed (www.fins-ridds)
4rd Phase
The fourth phase is devoted to the design, launch and managing of a digital space including an instructional block and interactive resources for planning, executing and communicating written projects. It also includes an interactive space where researchers and supervisors can manage their experiences and create networks to effectively support their researcher development.