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Living Doctoral Study, Developing Doctoral Identity

Janet Elizabeth Harrison

Doctoral study changes people. At the very least, a successful doctoral candidate changes the title before his or her name. Until now the pedagogy of doctoral learning has dealt only peripherally with the identity change that takes place during the doctoral process. How does a person come to be confident and ‘expert’ in a field, able to research independently and autonomously? What is the learning that needs to take place in order for an individual to claim the title Dr? How is this change experienced by the postgraduate student?
This book contains the true stories of ten women on their journeys to being awarded a doctorate. As members of a self-formed study group called PaperHeaDs, they were supported and challenged by the identity thresholds that they each crossed in their learning. Each story of an individual postgraduate student is represented by a metaphor for identity construction, which is then analysed by the author.