Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 7, No. 1 (2010)

Ringing the Changes: Mapping Networks of Support for Two Doctoral Students

Mark A. Tyler, University of Southern Queensland
Patrick Alan Danaher, University of Southern Queensland, Australia


A variation on supporting postgraduate students soaring through the rings is ringing the changes for such students – that is, identifying the distinct stages in their learning journeys and seeking ways to maximise opportunities to facilitate their movement through each stage and in the transition from one stage to the next. This approach recognises the many common issues faced by postgraduate students, yet also values the diversity of context and experience framing their engagements with those issues. This paper rings the changes in the learning journeys of two doctoral students, both in faculties of education in Australian regional universities, yet with different topics, research questions, theorists and findings. The account explores another incarnation of the ring metaphor: as a network of support. The authors map and compare their respective networks and link them with broader literature about contemporary doctoral students’ experiences and outcomes, particularly the four “islands” distilled by Di Napoli (Batchelor & Di Napoli, 2006). The paper then considers four sites of potential student support that arise from the preceding discussion. These findings emerge as ongoing elements of the doctoral student journey and highlight the contradictions as well as the complexities of multiple understandings of ringing the changes for postgraduate students as they soar through the rings.

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