The learning strategies of successful research graduates : A case study on the Phd holders / Dr. Faizah Abdul Majid, Nor Hashima Mohd Sukor, and Fatin Aliana Mohd Radzi

Abdul Majid, Faizah and Mohd Sukor, Nor Hashima (2008) The learning strategies of successful research graduates : A case study on the Phd holders / Dr. Faizah Abdul Majid, Nor Hashima Mohd Sukor, and Fatin Aliana Mohd Radzi. [Research Reports] (Submitted)


The idea to the research came from the university's concern over the increasing attrition
rate of research candidates. Each year, the statistic of research candidates who either
opted out or were dismissed due to poor performance shows a rise in percentage (IGS,
UiTM, 2006). Additionally, relevant literature review seems to support the possibility of
discontinuation of programme among the research candidates (Faizah, 2005; Habibah,
2002; Sayed et al, 1998). Several factors have been identified to contribute to the lost of
research candidates from the research programme they enrolled in. According to Brown
and Atkins (1990), the factors include difficulties with methodological skills, problems of
isolation and more serious commitment given outside research among the part-time
students. Sayed et al (1998) who-conducted a longitudinal study on the difficulties faced
by ten research students provided relevant input for best practices in research supervision.
According to them, the candidates in the study were not familiar with the process of
conducting research, the methodology involved and the conventions of thesis writing.
They further elaborated that these were due to the lack of understanding, uncertainty of
the candidates' own capabilities and high level of anxiety. From the previous studies, a
common factor why research candidates may not survive their research was their lack of
understanding of how the learning process should be when attempting an independent
research under the guidance of a supervisor as full fulfillment of a degree. Hence, the
present study was conducted with the aim to investigate the demographic profiles and the
strategies employed by 76 successful PhD graduates (53% female, 47% male) who
completed their studies either abroad or locally. A set of questionnaire which comprise
two parts (Part A: Learning Challenges & Strategies, and Part B: Demographic
Background) was administered to the respondents who were chosen based on a purposive
sampling. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 15. Cronbach's coefficient alpha
was utilized to measure internal consistency of the questionnaire. Values .872 and .842
for the learning challenges and learning strategies construct respectively indicated that
the instrument was reliable. In summary, a profile of the successful PhD graduates was
built. Additionally, their challenges and strategies employed to overcome the challenges
were identified. The findings have implications on future entry requirements, training,
and the type of support future PhD candidates need.


Item Type: Research Reports
Email / ID Num.
Abdul Majid, Faizah
Mohd Sukor, Nor Hashima
Keywords: Learning strategies; Research graduates ; Phd holders
Date: 2008
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