Many research students at the doctorate level face difficulties crossing threshold concepts (Wisker et al., 2010; Kiley, 2007; Leshem and Trafford, 2007) which are described as a ‘portal of understanding’ that require integration of understandings in order to cross the thresholds (Meyer and Land, 2003). When research students successfully crossed threshold concepts, their ways of thinking and researching are transformed where they are able to integrate various concepts within their fields of study. Previous studies on threshold concepts focused mostly on hard discipline and involved students at the postgraduate level. Addressing this research gap, this preliminary study explored the challenges faced by research students in Education as they attempted to cross threshold concepts during their doctoral learning journey. Five participants were selected for this study and they had successfully completed their PhD studies in local universities. A multiple-case study was employed in order to extract in-depth understanding of challenges faced prior to crossing threshold concepts and data collection included a series of interviews with the participants. Four major issues were identified as challenges to crossing threshold concepts, namely identifying research topics and objectives, conceptualizing research, managing supervisor relationships and inadequate advanced academic writing skills. Findings from this preliminary study inform research on doctoral learning journey, particularly in providing support to research students’ learning achievement and suggest effective supervision at the doctoral level.
|Keywords:||Threshold Concepts, Research Students, Supervision, Doctoral Learning Journey|
Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Deputy Dean, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia