From a professional practitioner to a practicebased researcher: a qualitative study of Norwegian PhD candidates in the fields of health, welfare and education
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionKristoffersen, M., Oftedal, B.F., Friberg, F. (2020) From a professional practitioner to a practice-based researcher: a qualitative study of Norwegian PhD candidates in the fields of health, welfare and education. Studies in Continuing Education, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/0158037X.2020.1732333
This study aims to describe and interpret the critical aspects of the development of PhD candidates’ professionally relevant, practice-near research competence in the fields of health, welfare and education. To provide knowledge regarding their development, a qualitative research design and phenomenological hermeneutic approach were used. Ten PhD candidates at a Norwegian multi-disciplinary research school were recruited through non-probability sampling. The following four themes emerged from the analysis: (1) relinquishing the professional status as a practitioner, (2) struggling at a low level of competence, (3) achieving autonomy as a PhD candidate, and (4) wanting to advance professional practice. The PhD candidates experienced loss when they relinquished their former professional status to become researchers while simultaneously struggling at a low level of competence compared to that of other qualified researchers. Thus, the importance of achieving autonomy to advance professional practice cannot be too strongly emphasised when PhD candidates are newcomers in a peripheral position within research communities.