Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Supervision: A Scoping Review

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Supervision: A Scoping Review

Article excerpt

Abstract

This scoping literature review examines the topic of interdisciplinary doctoral research supervision. Interdisciplinary doctoral research programs are expanding in response to encouragement from funding agencies and enthusiasm from faculty and students. In an acknowledgement that the search for creative and innovative solutions to complex problems is best addressed through interdisciplinary collaborations, research-intensive universities are increasingly encouraging interdisciplinary projects and programs. The expansion of interdisciplinary research to the context of doctoral research may impact several core components of the doctorate: the enactment of the student--supervisor relationship, the process of forming and working with a supervisory committee, and the process and outcomes of doctoral research. In order to ensure that interdisciplinary doctoral supervision occurs in a positive and effective way, it is necessary to understand the distinct needs and challenges of interdisciplinary students and their supervisors, through scholarship about this phenomenon.

Résumé

Cet article retrace la recherche existante dans le domaine de l'interdisciplinarité ainsi que l'encadrement de recherches doctorales. Les programmes interdisciplinaires de recherches doctorales répondent à l'incitation des organismes de financement et à l'enthousiasme des professeurs et des étudiants et, de ce fait, deviennent de plus en plus nombreux. Les universités centrées sur la recherche encouragent la création de projets et de programmes interdisciplinaires, car elles sont convaincues que les solutions innovatrices et créatives aux problèmes complexes se réalisent par le truchement de collaborations interdisciplinaires. La demande croissante de recherche interdisciplinaire crée cependant un effet important sur plusieurs composantes centrales du doctorat : la mise en oeuvre de la relation étudiant- superviseur; le processus de formation et de travail du comité de supervision; et les processus et résultats de la recherche doctorale. Pour que l'encadrement doctoral interdisciplinaire se déroule de façon positive et efficace, il est donc nécessaire de comprendre clairement quels sont les différents besoins et défis des étudiants et de leurs superviseurs, en fonction du savoir déjà existant dans le domaine.

Introduction

Interdisciplinary graduate supervision is an expanding phenomenon. Funding agen- cies are prioritizing interdisciplinary work at the doctoral level, as evidenced by programs such as the U.S. National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education Research and Training Program (National Science Foundation, 2011) and the Canadian Institute of Health Research's Strategic Training Initiatives in Health Research (Canadian Insti- tutes of Health Research, 2006). In response to encouragement from funding agencies, enthusiasm from faculty and students (Rhoten, 2004; Rhoten & Parker, 2004), and an acknowledgement that the search for creative and innovative solutions to complex prob- lems is best addressed through interdisciplinary collaborations, research-intensive uni- versities are increasingly encouraging interdisciplinary projects and programs (Gibney, Copeland, & Murie, 2009; Pinar, 2004). The expansion of interdisciplinarity to the con- text of doctoral research may impact the enactment of the student--supervisor relation- ship as well as the process and outcomes of graduate research. In order to ensure that in- terdisciplinary graduate supervision occurs in a positive and effective way, it is necessary to understand the distinct needs and challenges of interdisciplinary students and their su- pervisors, through scholarship about this phenomenon. This literature review examines the emerging body of literature on interdisciplinary doctoral (ID) supervision, using the guiding research question "what is known about interdisciplinary doctoral supervision?".

Although the supervisory relationship is the backbone of most graduate programs, theo- retically grounded research about the dynamics of graduate supervision is still an emerging area of research (Deuchar, 2008; Grant, 2003; Grant, 2005; Halse & Malfroy, 2010; Lee, 2008; McCallin & Nayar, 2012; Sambrook, Stewart, Roberts, 2008). …

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