Challenges in Doctoral Research Project Management: A Comparative Study

Reuven Katz
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 105-125
This paper presents quantitative results of a comparative study evaluating the management skills of doctoral candidates working toward a PhD and additional information related to their lifestyles. We conducted a survey among enrolled doctoral candidates at five universities in Israel and three technological universities in Western Europe. 1013 Israeli candidates and 457 Western European candidates replied to our survey. In our analysis, we compared the answers of Israeli Science and Engineering candidates to those of Social Sciences and Humanities candidates; in addition, we compared the answers of Israeli Science and Engineering students to their Western European peers. Our analysis focused on finding significant patterns by comparing these groups of students. In order to identify such patterns, we analyzed each question using the Pearson chi-square test. The current study’s main finding is that the majority of candidates, regardless of their chosen academic field or the region where they study, have no training or expertise in managing a doctoral research project. Based on these findings, we suggest that all doctoral candidates be taught basic research-project management. We believe that such training will provide them with a powerful tool for better managing their research as they advance towards successful completion of their doctorate.
Doctoral research management, Adviser-candidate relationship, Doctoral education
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