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postgraduate thesis: Doing research as the care of the self : postgraduate research student experiences and practices

TitleDoing research as the care of the self : postgraduate research student experiences and practices
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Pan, F. N. [潘輔君]. (2014). Doing research as the care of the self : postgraduate research student experiences and practices. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558990
AbstractThis thesis explores several research postgraduate students’ experiences in conducting independent research in their field of study. The research focuses on those students who had been undertaking PhD degree study, most of them in a full-time capacity, at the education faculty of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The HKU has been undergoing some major changes with regard to its undergraduate curriculum reform in general, and in the establishment of the Graduate School in particular as a result of the new quality control regimens imposed upon the institution by the university funding body – UGC. The new quality assurance has been the result of the local government’s education reform policy to follow the global trends of holding education service providers accountable for the quality of education they provide. The installation of quality assurance and accountability regimens set at international standards, and the implementation of stringent funding arrangements that are linked to the research performances of local HEIs, however, are carried out with the sole purpose to boost the international rankings of the local HEIs, which ultimate goal is to attract young talents from nearby regions to pursue higher degree studies in Hong Kong, particularly from Mainland China region. The institutions themselves have little bargaining power or say in the matter of new quality control regimens since their financial needs are almost entirely depended on government funding. These new practices have brought about new challenges especially in the three areas: the knowledge domain; the staff and student demography; and higher education scrutiny. It is within such localized contexts of change that RPG students are subjected to the similar institutional practice that encourages competitions and boost performances. The study follows the individual RPG students from the beginning to the end of their studies. The study theorizes students’ subjectivation process as they commit themselves to research training as the ‘care of the self’ - a Foucaultian concept that examines how a person governs herself and disciplines herself in order to achieve a certain personal goal. The RPG students’ personal narratives generated during intensive interviews were analyzed using the ‘care of the self’ framework (Foucault,1997). The Foucaultian discourse theory and analytic framework has also been adopted to analyze the large amount of data from university quality assurance documents, to local and international education reform policies, documents and discourses. These are theorized as the global, regional and local institutional discursive formations that give rise to and shape the RPG students’ experiences in the academia. The findings reveal that there is a growing trend of higher education convergence, which has created homogenization of practices, as well as basis for fierce competitions among HEIs in the local and global arena. The RPG students occupying the bottom of the institutional hierarchy often have limited resources and support they could utilize to tackle the challenges that the changes in the external structures have brought about. It is suggested that research that informs new practices and suggests alternative ways of doing is needed to address the current problems in academia.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectGraduate students - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216246

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorPan, Fu-chun, Nicol-
dc.contributor.author潘輔君-
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-08T23:11:31Z-
dc.date.available2015-09-08T23:11:31Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationPan, F. N. [潘輔君]. (2014). Doing research as the care of the self : postgraduate research student experiences and practices. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558990-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216246-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores several research postgraduate students’ experiences in conducting independent research in their field of study. The research focuses on those students who had been undertaking PhD degree study, most of them in a full-time capacity, at the education faculty of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The HKU has been undergoing some major changes with regard to its undergraduate curriculum reform in general, and in the establishment of the Graduate School in particular as a result of the new quality control regimens imposed upon the institution by the university funding body – UGC. The new quality assurance has been the result of the local government’s education reform policy to follow the global trends of holding education service providers accountable for the quality of education they provide. The installation of quality assurance and accountability regimens set at international standards, and the implementation of stringent funding arrangements that are linked to the research performances of local HEIs, however, are carried out with the sole purpose to boost the international rankings of the local HEIs, which ultimate goal is to attract young talents from nearby regions to pursue higher degree studies in Hong Kong, particularly from Mainland China region. The institutions themselves have little bargaining power or say in the matter of new quality control regimens since their financial needs are almost entirely depended on government funding. These new practices have brought about new challenges especially in the three areas: the knowledge domain; the staff and student demography; and higher education scrutiny. It is within such localized contexts of change that RPG students are subjected to the similar institutional practice that encourages competitions and boost performances. The study follows the individual RPG students from the beginning to the end of their studies. The study theorizes students’ subjectivation process as they commit themselves to research training as the ‘care of the self’ - a Foucaultian concept that examines how a person governs herself and disciplines herself in order to achieve a certain personal goal. The RPG students’ personal narratives generated during intensive interviews were analyzed using the ‘care of the self’ framework (Foucault,1997). The Foucaultian discourse theory and analytic framework has also been adopted to analyze the large amount of data from university quality assurance documents, to local and international education reform policies, documents and discourses. These are theorized as the global, regional and local institutional discursive formations that give rise to and shape the RPG students’ experiences in the academia. The findings reveal that there is a growing trend of higher education convergence, which has created homogenization of practices, as well as basis for fierce competitions among HEIs in the local and global arena. The RPG students occupying the bottom of the institutional hierarchy often have limited resources and support they could utilize to tackle the challenges that the changes in the external structures have brought about. It is suggested that research that informs new practices and suggests alternative ways of doing is needed to address the current problems in academia.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshGraduate students - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes-
dc.titleDoing research as the care of the self : postgraduate research student experiences and practices-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5558990-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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