Doctoral student experience in Education:Activities and difficulties influencing identity development

McAlpine, Lynn 
Jazvac-Martek, Marian 
Hopwood, Nick 

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This paper explores variation in the events or activities Education doctoral students describe as contributing to their feeling of being an academic or belonging to an academic community as well as difficulties they experience. The results (drawing principally on students in a Canadian research-intensive university though with some in a UK university) demonstrate a rich variation in multiple formative activities that are experienced as contributing to a developing identity as an academic, with many lying outside formal and semi-formal aspects of the doctorate. Yet, at the same time students report tensions in the very sorts of activities they often find significant and positive in the development of their identity. We see this analysis as offering much-needed insights into the formative role of cumulative day-to-day activities in the development of academic identity.

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University of Cambridge