Exploring mature-aged students' motives for doctoral study and their challenges: a cross border research collaboration

Annabella S.K. Fung, Jane Southcott, Felix Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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 Recommendations include mentoring schemes, greater support for isolated for Practitioners students, and more opportunities for students to complete their PhD by publication. Recommendation More research is needed to investigate mature-aged students' motives for for Researchers 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
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cross border research collaboration
  • Doctoral program design
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • Mature-aged doctoral students
  • Motivation

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