Exploring doctoral students’ expectations of work-based skills training

Jenny Candy, Padmali Rodrigo, Sarah Turnbull

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    Purpose - Doctoral students are expected to undertake work-based skills training within their doctoral studies in areas such as problem solving, leadership and team working. This study explores student expectations of doctoral training within a UK Higher Education context.

    Design - The data for the study was gathered via two focus groups conducted among doctoral students from different faculties in a post-92 UK University. Participants were selected using a snowball sampling approach.

    Findings - The findings suggest that the expectations of doctoral students are contingent upon their year of study, study mode, perceived fit between training goals and available training, peer recommendations, Word-of-Mouth (WoM) and the scholarly support they received from their supervisors.

    Practical Implications - The study suggests a better understanding of students’ segmentation can help Higher Education Institutions deliver training that meets the expectations of doctoral students in a way that result in zero or a positive disconfirmation.

    Originality/Value – This paper develops and deepens the understanding of the doctoral students’ expectations of work-based skills training and highlights the need for universities to adapt their doctoral training according to the expectations of different student segments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalHigher Education Skills and Work Based Learning
    Early online date22 Jan 2019
    Publication statusEarly online - 22 Jan 2019


    • Doctoral Students
    • Expectancy-Disconfirmation Theory
    • Work-Based Skills
    • Expectations
    • UK Higher Education


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