Retrospective PhD by publication in the UK: a rapid review on educational research commentaries

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As a form of alternative PhD, Retrospective PhD by Publication has been gaining popularity in UK universities, especially among experienced higher education practitioners who have substantial teaching and research experiences. Researchers have argued that a Retrospective PhD by Publication prepares candidates to excel in academia in terms of research capacity although some underscore the lack of support for candidates pursuing this doctoral route. Adopting a case study approach focusing on the discipline of Education, this chapter presents a genre analysis of six Retrospective PhD by Publication theses, focusing on their commentary component. Employing a recently developed policy-based structural framework of written commentary for a Retrospective PhD by Publication (Chong, 2021), a total of 61 structural moves were identified from these commentaries. Findings suggest that there are great variations in terms of the number of structural moves employed in the six commentaries, exhibiting individual approaches to structuring Retrospective PhD by Publication commentaries even within a small sample in a single academic discipline. Implications related to institutional policies and professional development of supervisors are discussed, as well as future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes and narratives of PhD by publication
Subtitle of host publicationdemystifying students’ and supervisors’ perspectives
EditorsSin Wang Chong, Neil Johnson
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783031048951
ISBN (Print)9783031048944, 9783031048975
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022


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