Exploring mature-aged student's motives for doctoral study and their challenges: A cross border research collaboration

Annabella Fung, Jane Elizabeth Southcott, Felix Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background:This cross-border research collaboration investigated the first international higher-research forum between two education faculties in Hong Kong and Australia. Aim & Methodology: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to explore participants’self-reported experiences concerning the motivations and challenges of 15 mature-aged doctoral students. Contribution:The findings have important implications for global doctoral program development,international exchange forum organizations, intercultural capacity building, academic enhancement and cross-border research collaboration. Findings: From interview data four overarching themes emerged: Taking calculated risks, Determination to succeed, Financial stress, and Balancing life and research. Recommendations for Practitioners: Recommendations include mentoring schemes, greater support for isolated students, and more opportunities for students to complete their PhD by publication. Recommendation for Researchers: More research is needed to investigate mature-aged students’ motives for embarking on study in diverse cultural contexts among different ethnic groups. Impact on Society: This study recognized the merits and potentials of mature students whose research contributes to their societies. Future Research: Future research directions include using multiple case study design, thus exploring diverse aspects of the existing sample in greater depth, as well as tapping into a new sample of students at risk of attrition at both faculties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-195
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Doctoral Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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