reflecting on PhD learning


Some supervisors ask the doctoral researchers they work with to formally reflect on their learning. A what-am-I-learning conversation might be a regular part of supervision. Reflection is also often self initiated – ongoing thoughts are recorded in a doctoral researcher journal or a blog. University initiated ‘skills audits’ and the use of researcher development frameworks also require the doctoral researcher to step back and assess what they know, and what they still need/want to know.

Reflecting on learning is sometimes formally required as the final act in the thesis – the conclusion to the concluding chapter becomes a look-back at new understandings generated from the doctoral experience. And some examiners like a little learning-focused reflection too. There might very well be a question in the viva which requires the candidate to share what they’ve learnt about research and about being a researcher.

The request and expectation for reflection doesn’t happen consistently across disciplines, or even commonly…

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