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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *pedagogy
The principal aim of my research is to investigate the perceptions of Doctoral research academics regarding the benefit of their research activities to undergraduate students. Through in-depth interviews, the research aims to establish the level of communication that Doctoral researchers initiate with their undergraduate students about their research activities as well as the extent to which they know if these students perceive these activities as positive or negative. The extent to which students proactively queried such academics about their research activities is also examined. Two main types of activities were identified as having a positive impact: topic specific ‘cutting-edge’ knowledge was perceived as being beneficial as well as the broad-based liberal learning ethos that such academics brought to their teaching. Doctoral researchers research methods skills were of benefit, especially to dissertation students. A caveat for both however, was that they should not be ‘pitched’ at inappropriate levels, relative to student abilities. Another problem identified was the non- availability of such staff to undergraduates at various times.
College management and academics should work together in ensuring that there is a link between what Doctoral-research academics do when it comes to teaching undergraduates. Pedagogical training that engages these students in challenging research through ‘communities of practice’, and aligning college research policy to student curriculum should all be considered. The work and expertise of these academics needs to be targeted and disseminated at this large student cohort so that they gain maximum benefit from all Doctoral research work.
McCauley, J.: How do Doctoral research academics perceive their research activities to be of benefit to undergraduate students?. Masters Dissertation, Dublin Insitute of Technology, 2010