IIER logo 4
Issues in Educational Research, 2022, Vol 32(1), 71-88.
[ Contents Vol 32 ] [ IIER Home ]

Lessons learned while searching for meaning in doctoral completion metrics: An intra-institution case study

Meryl Pearce Churchill
James Cook University, Australia

Daniel Lindsay
James Cook University, Australia, and University of Queensland, Australia

Melissa Crowe, Lauretta Grasso, Diana H. Mendez, Nicholas Emtage and Rhondda Jones
James Cook University,

For institutions intent on improving their research student outcomes, it is important to identify the variables most strongly associated with timely or tardy completions, which the university has the potential to influence or amend. For this to occur the analyses of doctoral completion times need to be conducted at an institution or discipline level. However, conducting meaningful analyses of doctoral completion data is a complex undertaking fraught with potential problems. This paper uses an intra-institution case study to reflect on and illustrate how different meanings can emerge from data analysis, depending on the statistical approach used to analyse the data. The paper outlines the lessons learned during data analysis, and the implications for doctoral education. The findings also point to potential marketing opportunities for research institutions.
[ PDF full text for this article ]

Authors: Associate Professor Meryl Pearce Churchill is a researcher and mentor in the Cohort Doctoral Studies Program at James Cook University. Her current research centres on improving student training, outcomes, experience, and employability.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6417-1621
Email: meryl.churchill@jcu.edu.au

Dr Daniel Lindsay is a research fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland with expertise in quantitative methodology and statistics. He has worked as a biostatistician on various projects and publications and has diverse interests in health and education-related research.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7471-3041
Email: d.lindsay@uq.edu.au

Associate Professor Melissa Crowe is the Head of the Cohort Doctoral Studies Program in the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University. She has 13 years' experience working in research education and over 25 years' experience teaching in the tertiary sector.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0063-5204
Email: melissa.crowe@jcu.edu.au

Dr Lauretta Grasso is the Manager of the Graduate Research School at James Cook University. The role entails drawing on external policy, legislation and best practice to influence the strategy and policy directions of research education across the institution.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8897-8289
Email: lauretta.grasso@jcu.edu.au

Dr Diana Mendez is an academic engaged in postgraduate research training at James Cook University. She works as a researcher, a Cohort Doctoral Studies Program mentor, coordinates two postgraduate research methods subjects and supervises several higher degree by research candidates.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7761-1043
Email: diana.mendez@jcu.edu.au

Dr Nicholas Emtage is a researcher and data analyst (Information & Systems) in the Planning, Performance and Analytics Division of Services and Resources at James Cook University. He has worked as a variety of research projects associated with higher education student success, retention and completions.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4570-6619
Email: nicholas.emtage@jcu.edu.au

Emeritus Professor Rhondda Jones is a population ecologist and biostatistician, and provides statistical support and training to postgraduate research students in the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1031-2863
Email: rhondda.jones@jcu.edu.au

Please cite as: Churchill, M. P., Lindsay, D., Crowe, M., Grasso, L., Mendez, D. H., Emtage, N. & Jones, R. (2022). Lessons learned while searching for meaning in doctoral completion metrics: An intra-institution case study. Issues in Educational Research, 32(1), 71-88. http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/churchill.pdf

[ PDF full text for this article ] [ Contents Vol 32 ] [ IIER Home ]
Published under a Creative Commons licence: Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)
This URL: http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/churchill-abs.html
Created 7 March 2022. Last correction: 7 March 2022. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]