A conceptual inquiry of communities of practice as praxis in international doctoral education.

Liexu Cai, Dangeni, Dely Elliot, Rui He, Jianshu Liu, Kara Makara, Emily Pacheco, Hsin-Yi Shih, Wenting Wang, Jie Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Undertaking a PhD entails diverse and multi-faceted challenges as doctoral
researchers enter a distinct academic culture that requires transition to a new level
and threshold of learning – with both knowledge acquisition and production at the
core. While doctoral researchers are expected to secure different dimensions of
knowledge, which necessitates meaningful ‘dialogue’ with experts, the colossal task
is still ironically associated with isolated doctoral experience and somewhat limited
postgraduate supervision provision. With the extra concerns typically confronting
the international doctoral cohort, the pressure tends be intensified, and may lead to
psychological well-being concerns. Nevertheless, there is evidence from the
literature that highlights the often unacknowledged forms of learning opportunities
and support mechanisms via community participation. By employing communities of
practice as the main framework, this conceptual paper exemplifies the crucial role
played by these communities – how these communities serve to scaffold doctoral
researchers’ academic progress, support their psychological adjustments, and
reinforce the crucial, but perhaps limited, formal doctoral support provision. By
featuring effective examples of educational praxis via these communities, our paper
offers a holistic understanding of formal and informal infrastructures as part of the
wider doctoral ecology with a view to achieving a more holistic and meaningful
doctoral experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-36
Number of pages26
JournalJournal for Praxis in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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