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Issues in Educational Research, 2018, Vol 28(4), 811-829
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Learning to complete the PhD thesis

Khairul Akmaliah Adham
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Malaysia

Huong Ha
Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore

Shifa Mohd Nor and Zaleha Yazid
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia

Research competencies are pertinent to academic researchers. Due to increasingly demanding work situations, academic researchers are forced to rapidly develop competencies in both qualitative and quantitative research. However, studies on how doctoral candidates develop competencies to complete their PhD theses are limited. This study, therefore, examines the types of learning method including the processes and drivers of learning among academics, who have successfully employed qualitative methodologies in their doctoral research. We used the perspectives of learning theories, doctoral education processes and network perspective as the study's conceptual framework. We employed a qualitative design comprising in-depth interviews with ten researchers in the field of management. The findings suggest that researchers learn qualitative methodologies through both formal and informal methods of learning. Self-study, guidance from supervisor and network support which are closely tied to one's own self-reflection contribute to the successful application of qualitative methodology in doctoral research.
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Authors: Dr Khairul Akmaliah Adham is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Muamalat, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Her research interests include processes of innovation and the conditions that foster innovation in organisations. She has utilised various forms of qualitative designs, including case study and content analysis methodology.
Email: ka@usim.edu.my, khairulakmaliahadham@gmail.com

Dr Huong Ha is Head, Business Program at School of Business, Singapore University of Social Sciences. She has been affiliated with UON Singapore and University of Newcastle, Australia. Her previous positions include Dean, Director of Research and Development, Deputy Course Director, Chief Editor, and Executive Director.
Email: artp6075singapore@yahoo.com

Dr Shifa Mohd Nor is a senior lecturer in Faculty of Economy and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interest includes ethics, corporate social responsibilities and sustainable development.
Email: shifa@ukm.edu.my

Dr Zaleha Yazid is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her area of specialisation is in project team dynamics, organisational behaviour and qualitative research approaches. Her research interests include leadership, conflict management and teamwork in organisations.
Email: leyha@ukm.edu.my

Please cite as: Adham, K. A., Ha, H., Mohd Nor, S. & Yazid, Z. (2018). Learning to complete the PhD thesis. Issues in Educational Research, 28(4), 811-829. http://www.iier.org.au/iier28/adham.pdf

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Created 4 Nov 2018. Last revision: 4 Nov 2018.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]